Purchase advice - vintage lens, adapters and mounting mods (Long Post)

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by manueljenkin, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. manueljenkin

    manueljenkin TPF Noob!

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    tl:dr in a post just below this

    Hi all, I apologize that this is my third purchase advice post here, but this will be my last. I have done as much research as I can and have a fair Idea what I want. Just want to know if it's possible. I'm interested in sony a7rIII. Except for 4K rolling shutter performance and no 4k 60fps everything seems perfect. I still have good 1080p and stunning photos. I'll wait till a7sIII releases and see if it checks those boxes else I'm going with a7rIII.

    I want to get fixed on my lens stuff. I'm open for any other alternatives. These may look like I'm searching for hipster appeal but I'm really not. I'm just looking to find ones that will match my needs without adding extra (weight, space and cost) that I won't use. And quite possibly have better optical performance than competitors. I'm interested in sharpness, colour/contrast lack of distortion and aberrations. I do enjoy bokeh and special purpose lens, and definitely enjoy shallow depth of field when appropriate but just not my main priority.

    1. Zeiss Distagon 28mm f/2.0 ZF.2 - Expensive but considering that it'll make up a lot of my photos and that I can make good use of it, I'm okay with the price. It is the only lens I can buy new in this list, with official warranty. Besides the cameras are already expensive enough.

    I'm more inclined to buy the ZF.2 (nikon variant), I'd love if it had an alpha a mount variant (sadly it doesn't). I love 28mm focal length on a full frame (preferrably something that has shallower depth of field). There's a very cool asymmetric feel to the shots. For me, it is a focal length that is wide enough but still the subject enjoy a noticeable space within the image. It's field of view drags you into a point inside the frame and these with their shallower depth of field make it even more so. It has a field curvature that makes the images look shallower than f/2.0, and I really like it. It's not a problem for me since I am not going to use this to shoot landscapes and such on this (If I were to, I'd have chosen a much wider lens).

    Will be used for taking street photography,beaches, and people. And also for videos, mostly first person view. Similar lens are Leica summilux and summicron 28mm but they are goddamn expensive (and I'm not even sure if they'll work fine on a thicker sony sensor). No I don't want 24mm or 25mm - No batis and all those stuff. Also not much interested in sony FE 28mm since it's actually a 26mm or so lens with distortion that will be corrected by the camera. The images looked great but I preferred zeiss/leica 28mm lens photos for my tastes.

    2. Contax Zeiss 35-70mm f/3.4 Y/C mount- Have to check ebay to find a good seller but doable. Verstaile and very compact for a zoom. Enough focal lenghts to keep me happy - 35mm/50mm for normal shots and 70mm when I need some reach/I'm at a taller place. And I believe I can use all focal lengths at 3.4 on this lens without worrying about sharpness loss or vignetting much. I don't really need wider aperture at these focal lengths. I don't expect this to be a full on portrait lens (in terms of subject isolation and stuff) but I do think it'll be fine when called on for. Fits my needs very well. Will be used to taking photos like these (and videos).

    Looking down into Grisedale Valley
    目黒川
    Breitling
    Contax 35-70 f3.4 Vario-Sonnar T*
    tokyobike

    So basically taking photos of objects, showing a reach from above a height (like for landscapes), stuff like cars,cupboards etc and occasional macro. Any other lens comparably sharp and aberration free, versatile, compact enough and fairly inexpensive would also do well for me. Can't justify 2 grands on a modern 24-70mm and that they are large and heavy as well. Either way I wouldn't use much of their autofocus capabilites.

    3. Nikon 105mm 2.5 AiS - Portraits and video, and fairly cheap to find. This is one lens that I'm not 100% fixed on. I'm very open to alternatives for this. The difference isn't big but I think I'll prefer something in 85-90mm range. Headshots look a little fluffy on this lens (atleast from the images I have seen on flickr), it gets better when there is enough space in the left and right of the subject (or images shot on aps-c cameras where those spaces would be left when framing). Not sure if I saw the wrong images. The summicron 90mm is expensive. Jupiter 9 85mm looks cool but once again I'm not sure. The nikon one seems very sharp but I'll need to nail manual focus at this telephoto range. On the flip side it seems less expensive than anything else comparable (people call it legendary). f/2.5 is certainly more than enough for me. I'm always stunned by images taken on nocticron on mft body (thats 1.2*2 = f/2.4) but its sharp all around thats what I like a lot - hopefully the nikon will be similar. I'm looking to find a relatively newer version of the lens (Ais I guess), just to be sure it doesn't have thorium content.

    I have a few doubts.

    1. People who have personally used these lenses, what are your takes? Anything I'd need to know (especially about shooting portraits on nikon 105mm)? I know I'll have to check for fog and stuff when buying used lens. And when using adapter, have to correct for infinity focus. I'm reading phillipreeve's blogs for guides. Anything else I'd need to know?

    2. Safety. (toxic substances/radiation)
    Lot of vintage lens (especially ones before 1970) seem to contain thorium - either used in manufacturing process/as a coating, or a significant part of the lens (upto 30% by weight). I'm believe the first lens I mentioned won't have any since it is a new lens (but not sure though). The contax lens was manufactured around the 80s and 90s and I believe it would have not used either (again not sure). The nikon, this is the reason why I'm thinking of looking for the ais version over the older versions.

    I know that lot of other vintage things have radioactive substances (there were even doctor prescriptions, and radioactive dining plates I guess lol) and that we are constantly experiencing radiation around us. And that most of these lens emit particles that decay soon at very close distances, people have used them for ages (I believe a thin piece of paper is enough to stop them). Besides, the people in manufacturing plants would have suffered problems if that was that mugh dangerous. But still I don't want to take additional risks for just a lens (considering I have other options). Things could have changed over the years. I have pets that have a chance of grabbing around my things and stuff (rare if I keep them safe, but possible). Also there could be yellowing up, them interacting with film/sensor annoyances. By far the worst risk I believe is with eyepieces and I just wish to be on the safer sides. Just better that I avoid them. So when I'm recommended alternative lens I'd prefer ones that are from 80s and above and non radioactive/toxic.

    3. Adapters and Mounts.
    I'm thinking of having a film camera, in addition to a7s/r just for the fun of it and would be nice if I could use the same lens on both (with appropriate adapters). I dont want to introduce any new lens in between - no fotodiox, because this is just something I'm trying to experiment and see if I can have my film experiment done easily.

    a. Is it possible to mod an alpha mount camera to make it an F mount camera - modding the camera, not the lens. Looking to get Minolta Maxxum 9. I find it impressive in terms of looks (mainly that), ergonomics and functionality (though I won't be using the autofocus). And since it doesn't have as much hipster appeal/popularity, I can snag them up for fairly very cheap prices. If I were able to mod the Minolta from a mount to f mount I'd be able to use the zeiss 28mm and nikon 105mm on it.

    I couldn't find much information about modding a camera mount, but there was something about modding a lens mount online. There is a mod from leitax that I can use to mod the contax zeiss C/y mount 25-70mm lens to F mount so that all 3 lens would be in F mount. Of course I would do this only provided that this lens doesn't have toxic chemicals/radioactive substances, without which I wouldn't even purchase them. Any known downsides to the leitax mods (other than screwing up), they are reversible I guess? For the A7, I can probably just get a F-E mount adapter and be done with it for all the lens. Would using an adapter after modding the yashica to F mount cause any mechanical/optical instability (as in placement/angle)?

    If the Leitax mod is workable, I know that I can just buy a nikon F film camera for the film experience, but I'm just wondering if it is possible to make the minolta accept F mount lenses. Film is all about personal preference and the minolta maxxum 9 is the only camera, other than mamiya 7 that really caught my attention when I looked at it (I also like the appeal of leica m cameras, but to a lesser extent than these).

    b. Else, the setup would be like these 3 lens having adapters attached to them to mount to a film camera (with acceptable flange distance to make adapters possible), and then an adapter that adapts from the film camera to sony E mount constantly attached to the A7 body. Is such a thing possible, or will I be losing mechanical stability due to many joints.

    This would for sure rule out film cameras with flange distance longer than C/Y mount. So, Nikon's classic DSLRs are out of the question since I won't be able to use the Contax on them.
    Flange focal distance - Wikipedia

    Camera's I'd be interested in this are minolta maxxum 9 (again), Canon EF film cameras and Canon FD film cameras. But I'm not sure if this is feasible since there is like only 1mm gap between flange distance of Minolta to Yashica mount and at max some 4.5mm gap between flange distance of Canon FD mount to Nikon F mount and these are probably too slim to make an adapter. So I'd probably have to end up doing leitax mods on all 3 lens, so its probably not feasible. Any other system worth trying out in this?

    I did find something that is advertised to fit yashica lens on fd body (if that is true, surely there should be something to fit nikon lens on FD body). Not sure if it works though. I'd love to see if something similar exists for yashica to alpha mount (though chances are slim I guess)

    Adapter Ring_Contax CY Lens to Canon F-1 FD Mount Camera Adapter (CY-FD/YC-FD) | eBay

    c. Find a film camera that has equivalently good lens that will replace all these 3. The contax zeiss 35-70 is in C/Y mount. Pretty sure there will be good enough replacements for the Nikon 105mm in all mounts. I can easily find a Distagon 28mm in C/Y f/2.0 mount but it'll be expensive enough that I'd rather buy the new ZF.2 variant than spend expensive cash on a used one. Besides I'm wondering if there is any nice film cameras in the contax series that will keep me happy (couldn't find much interesting there). I'm not that much sold on getting everything on c/y mount to be honest.

    Or I can find some good lens in the Minolta/Sony a lineup for the Minolta maxxum 9 that'll replace these 3. There seems to be good 85mm lens but I'm not sure if there is anything worthy enough to replace the distagon 28mm and the contax 35-70mm. There is a 28mm f/2 but I don't see anyone mentioning them anywhere. Are they good? These lens also have autofocus (which is a bonus if they don't weigh a lot, but not something I might use often). Couldn't find a compact zoom though. Please let me know about this. I can find the 28mm for fairly cheap on ebay (but that's also what makes me skeptical about it). I can probably compromise with a good 50mm instead of the zoom if the 28mm is good, get a 85mm and be done with it (no mods no fuss).
    Open for any other system as well.

    d. Give up the thought of film and just adapt each straight to sony a7. Each lens would now be longer. Not a big deal. It's fine, but I just wish if there was a way to enjoy film photography in a cost and space effective manner, with the cameras that interest me. But I'm willing to do some mods/tinkering to the two lens other than the 28mm if there is a chance for sorting things out the way I want.

    Something about myself, if it helps in any way.

    My previous purchase advice posts are :
    Help me choose between GH5, X-T2, E-M1 mkii and lenses. Need information about colours!
    Doubts with Mamiya 7 ii + 150mm lens (also 43mm)

    Honestly, if I could get a mamiya 7 + 43mm + 150mm at a reasonable price, I would go with it without a second thought. But I couldn't find any at a reasonable price. It is prized to be legendary so it's expected but I wasn't expecting it to be this difficult. Someday later maybe!
    My interest in photography are - street photography, long exposure, a little bit of portrait and the general stuff like photos on trips etc. Not into crazy burst action or anything that requires autofocus.

    My interest in videography are first person views, or places (like beaches,personal experience like rollercoaster rides etc). I want to be able to use the full lens on video, don't want to buy an expensive lens just to use a crop of it (ie full frame video). I'd love good rolling shutter performance for the first person view videos. And if possible 4k 60fps, but it's not a dealbreaker as long as it has sharp and aberration free high frame rate 1080p. Never explored into video yet (Not sure how much I can do out of my phone). Some videos I recently saw that I liked a lot (taken on different cameras), that can give an idea of videos I'm interested to shoot.







    All I have currently is an oneplus 3 (Phone cameras I had in the past that I liked - nokia lumia 720, nokia lumia 920 - the latter which I prefer over the oneplus). All of my analysis comes from looking at tonnes and tonnes of flickr images (its a pleasant hobby looking at other's works), vimeo videos, youtube videos, written articles, etc. And once in a while comparing certain things with the phone cameras I had (like my friend's lumia 640 xl had really good close focusing distance and was able to do really good macro). I have went through a lot of charts, engineering stuff (including white balance, autofocus implementations/machine learning) and it was very interesting (and useful in my studies, so I didn't actually waste time doing these). Some photos I took when I felt like - mostly had to resort to long exposure so as to keep iso noise down. I can manage 2 seconds exposures handheld pretty easily on this camera (obviously only for still subjects). They aren't excellent but I believe I made the best I could out of what I have in that situation (most shot long exposure handheld).

    manueljenkin0

    I'm not intending to travel superlight but I don't want to carry additional weight/occupy addition space for stuff I don't use - just make it as light as I can while ticking all my requirements. I'm not that much interested in autofocus and I'm more inclined to manual focus old lens that generally take up less space (and are generally cost effective comparitively).

    I'm not an elitist, I can use any gear given to me, just that I really want to explore photography. (I'm also learning music instruments now). If you are wondering about gear aquisition syndrome, definitely not. I learn about everything but I buy only things I really use - my shure srh1540 headphone is an example.. expensive but worth it. Overanalysing, yes! That's how I am - can't help it, don't want to purchase something that I won't use. I can spend a dozen months nailing down what I really want and when I get it I know that it was worth it. I can take good photos out of my phone, but honestly it is limiting what I can do.

    I can be contended with a nikon d750 for sure but I believe I have enough interest and skill to justify spending near 5 grands for a camera system, and I have saved enough - especially considering I can mount an infinite number of lens to the a7 bodies. Besides it'll last me long, especially lens that are for ever. I don't use flash and I'm not into shooting professional photos/videos (as in paid by someone to do like wedding photos and stuff). All I'm going to do are hobbyist things, but with a lot of interest.


     
  2. manueljenkin

    manueljenkin TPF Noob!

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    Tl-dr: Is the leitax mod for contax/yashica to nikon F worth it? does it have any compromises.
    Is it possible to mod an alpha mount body (minolta maxxum 9) to have an F mount?
    Other lens mount/adapter options. Lens advice!.
     
  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've never heard of any eyepieces that contained radioactive substances.

    As for lenses; it's usually in only the front element, therefore it's normally a few inches from your face when in use. Meanwhile; do not lick the lens, do not sleep with it, and if you break it, get out and immediately put your house up for sale. :biggrinangelA:

    Seriously; don't break it.

    The yellowing is easily corrected, so it's not a problem.
     
  4. manueljenkin

    manueljenkin TPF Noob!

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    Hi Mods, Can you please delete this thread? I realized that I made too long of a chaotic post. I made a more compact, to the point post now ( Doubts about Leitax Mod (C/y to F mount), and using F mount lens on Alpha Cameras? ), so I don't want this post to be there and waste the time of members.

    Thanks and sorry for the disturbance I made.
     

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