old manual lenses on modern film cameras

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by christos_theofilogiannakos, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Hi!
    I was wondering which would be the best "modern" film (35mm) SLR camera body to buy in order to be able to use my old manual focus lenses (mostly M42, some OM zuikos too). Priorities are spot metering and high top shutter speeds (at least 1/2000). Any camera brand will do, although required adapter availability could be an issue. I'm not familiar with the more recent Nikon/Canon/Minolta/Pentax etc. mount compatibility with M42/Zuiko lenses, although I was quite happy with a Nikon F65 I owned (and foolishly sold to get a DSLR), but I hear Nikons require an adapter with an optical element which compromises IQ. I am using a Pentax ME Super with a M42-PK adapter for my M42s, but I was wondering if anything could be done for more advanced/reliable metering and higher fps.
  2. SCL


    The most flexible of the "modern" film cameras is the Canon EOS system due to the short flange to film distance, although the Canon FD system offers an additional 2mm of space and is older than the EOS mount. Here's a link to see what is possible: http://www.graphics.cornell.edu/~westin/misc/mounts-by-register.html
  3. Yes, I see that the EOS mount is quite useable, I already knew that from the EOS DSLRs and the readily available adaptors. The same goes for the Pentax-K of Pentax SLRs. I was looking for a more precise answer regarding specific modell(s) with the features I mentioned above. It seems that the Nikons are almost out of the question. A Pentax ZX-5 (MZ-5) sprang to mind. Familiar with that model?
  4. SCL


    Christos - although I am a Nikon man for many things, the reduced flange distance makes them reasonably unsuitable for a large variety of other manufacturer's manual focus lenses. My familiarity with Pentax bodies stops with the Spotmatics (M39)), so I can't help you there. I use a Canon T90 (FD) often with adapters for a variety of lenses, but have never used the EOS bodies. You might like to take a look at Steve Gandy's site, which has lots of useful info about adapters on other bodies: www.cameraquest.com.
  5. For the OM lenses, the best modern camera buy is the OM4T which has spot metering and a fast max shutter speed. For the M42 lenses, the suggestion for Canon EOS is sound, although a Fujica ST-901 might be a good native bet. Not sure about spot metering though, for the Fujica or the EOS bodies. I'll slap a M42 lens on my EOS-3 tonite and see what metering is available. Might not be any!
  6. "A Pentax ZX-5 (MZ-5) sprang to mind. Familiar with that model?"

    I use mine with Takumars via the Pentax M42 adapter
  7. Although it's fairly old, no one has improved on Bob Atkins' post at http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/eosfaq/manual_focus_EOS.html
    That post gives the flange distances for a number of different mounts, so it's not only for Canon EF mount.
    For 35mm film cameras, the Canon FD mount would be best, when the adapters are available, but practically, it is much easier to find whatever>EOS mount adapters.
    M42 and Nikon mount lenses are a cinch to use on any older EOS film camera. Also C/Y>EOS, Exakta and many others are available, although sometimes they are more "fiddley".
    There is no very good reason to buy some very overpriced adapters; most can be got from China for under US$15 and they work just fine.
  8. MZ-S would be even nicer than the MZ/ZX-5/5n. Better built (more reliable), 1/6000 shutter and 2.5fps winder. With some effort you may be able to aquire alternate focusing screens for any of these with aids for manual focusing. There's also an available 'portrait' AA battery grip. A slightly older Pentax PZ-1p would give you 1/8000 shutter and built-in 4fps winder along with spot metering.
    A handy feature for use with old lenses on Pentax PZ-1 and MZ-S is the 'hypermanual' feature, where you set aperture on lens (stop lens down for adapted lenses), hit a button and the shutter speed is automatically set. On MZ-S (and many other newer Pentax cameras) this is the 'green button', on PZ-1, it was labeled 'IF' (don't ask me why).
    These would be fine for M42 (or Pentax K of course) but I'm not sure there are adapters for OM lenses. Even though OM has a slightly longer register distance, this may be an issue where there are mechanical fit problems with making a proper adapter. For one body that does both OM and M42, Canon EOS is probably your best bet.
  9. Thanks everyone!
    MZ-S: Too expensive!
    OM-4ti: I am looking for auto-wind! (same goes for ST-901)
    I have narrowed it down to Pentax MZ-3 (or ZX-3) (great for the M42s, can't use the OMs though). The MZ-5n (ZX-5n) could be an alternative) and the Canon EOS-300X (rebel T2) or EOS 30 (elan), the T2 being more suitable for my needs due to price and availability.
    Now, do you have any experience (or could point me to someone who does) on how well does the Canons' metering works with those old lenses mounted? Additionally, how do these AF-confirm EF mount adaptors work? I know I'm getting way too specific here...
  10. Christos , I mainly use manual focus lenses on digital bodies .Recently ,on NEX 3 .I've used M42 and Yashica ML on EOS XTi (400D) using AF(chipped) confirm adapters . Mixed results . The metering tends to give not the best results when using wide angle 20mm(overexposes;needs -1 compensation at least and stopping down the lens) . When stopping down the lens to f8-11 it's possible that the shutter doesn't fire if selected the one shoot AF and focusing is not achieved.(EOS XTi). I don't advise you to use EOS 300 , because it has not leds on the focusing points ,so you can't see the active focusing point in dim light . But you can use the EOS 50e as I do .Wery good camera, focusing points with lighting leds. I've used it with Flektogon 20/2,8 :
    Flektogon on Minolta X700 :
    Yashica ML 28mm on EOS XTi :
    I intend to use also on EOS IX .But I suggest you to buy a 2.3x viewfinder magnifier for fine tuning the focus , because the chipped adapters with focus confirmation are not accurate enough. I use M42 lenses on Minolta X700 with excellent results ,spot on focus and perfect light metering . A split focusing screen is better than the AF screens wich are not designed to help you to manual focus. Of course , a lower register camera would be better , allowing the use of diferent mounts if there are adapters . FD T70 is an excellent motorised camera . Konica AR has also shorter register distance than EOS. Adapters :
    Of course, if you can access a specialist who can manufacture adapters , these can be done ,according to the list in the link provided by JDM
  11. In conclusion, EOS + 2.3x flipping viewfinder magnifier ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110394177757?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 ) may be the best option (there are adapters for Nikon , OM, M42, C/Y , PK , Rollei QBM ,Leica R, Exakta Topcon at cheap prices - 15-20 E)
    You'll be able to fit the biggest variety of lenses from different manufacturers . In my opinion it's the best solution , apart from the mirrorless bodies ,but you asked for film body.
  12. I regularly use my Pentax pZ-1p and MZ-S cameras, but not with manual focus lenses. Though all Pentax K mount (and M42 screw mount -- with manual aperture) lenses can be used with these cameras, it all comes down to the focus screens on all AF cameras: they are not meant for use with MF lenses. IMO, a split-screen or a fresnel type screen is needed for useful manual focus.
  13. @Teo: Thanks for the useful advice on the magnifier, it seems really helpful, especially for my old Zenits who make focusing an ordeal!. I already ordered a near-mint (hopefully) EOS 33 for 45 euros (incl. postage) from Germany. Worst case scenario(s), I'll either re-sell it, or start a Canon lens collection to use with it with!
    @Anirban: Yes, the split-screen is a bonus, my regular use cameras are a Pentax ME Super, a Fujica AZ-1 and an OM-2, precisely for the ease of focusing, as they all have split-screens. However, I had pretty good results using my neighbour's Canon EOS 50D with a Yashica ML lens and though focusing takes a bit longer, all images were acceptably sharp. I seldom shoot moving objects and the high shutter speed requirement is for shooting under bright light conditions with larger apertures, so I think I will cope.
    I'd really like to get my hands on an MZ-S, but they really are out of my league, plus I always thought that buying a really expensive hi-end camera will eventually lead all my other cameras to inactivity and I'd hate that.
  14. U have a correction for Pentax Spotmatic all used m42 only the very early Pentaxes used m39

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