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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:43 am 
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Hi. This is my first post and I know nothing about buying a DSLR so I hope this all makes sense and that someone can help steer me in the right direction.

I want to buy a DSLR for my husband that will allow him the choice to use some the 35mm lenses and filters that belonged to his late father. My husband has little experience with SLR cameras but is very keen to learn. So...

1) Is it possible to get a DSLR that will allow the flexibility to use the old lenses and filters?

2) Where should I start and what information do I need?

Thanks very much for taking the time to read this.

K.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:26 pm 
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Hi.
What lenses does he have? (manufacturer, age etc)

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Image btw,He who dies with the most toys, WINS!
Nikon D800E & D700 bodies + Nikon 200-400mm F4 VR1, 50mm F1.4G, 16-35mm f/4G VR, 105 F2.8 VR macro, 70-300mm lenses. A couple of filters, Giotto tripod & ballhead. Lowepro Slingshot 302 AW
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:10 pm 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
There are definitely choices he can pick today to use those lenses, with varying compromises. Much will depend on what mount those lenses are. If the lenses are Pentax K mount or Nikon mount lenses for example, they can still be attached to current Pentax or Nikon DSLRs - some cheaper camera bodies won't have as much flexibility in use or settings, and others will...so check on which bodies would be best with the old manual mounts first from others who shoot with those brands.

Other brands, such as Canon, Minolta (now Sony), Olympus, etc have changed their camera mounts when they went to Autofocus in the late 80s, or again when they went to digital (Olympus converted over to their 4:3 format)...so those DSLRs don't have backwards compatibility with older manual lenses...it's a completely different mount and won't fit on the new bodies.

However, there ARE still options for Canon, Minolta, Olympus...and actually ANY other lens mount ever made: the class of cameras known as 'mirrorless interchangeable lens' cameras have a special design eliminating the mirror from the body, and narrowing the lens' registration gap to much smaller than any other 35mm or Rangefinder mount...in other words, the lens sits much closer to the sensor (or film) than any other camera in history. The advantage of that is that you only need a cheap metal 'spacer' adapter to move the lens out to the right distance from the sensor to be able to properly focus, and voila! You can use any old lens from any mount ever made. Mirrorless cameras with larger sensors are made by Canon, Sony, Samsung, Olympus, Fuji, and Panasonic. Some have 'APS-C' sized sensors which would add a crop factor to those old lenses...usually 1.5x...which means a 50mm lens will look like a 75mm lens, a 24mm lens will look like a 36mm lens, etc. Some have 'M4:3' sensors which are a little smaller, and therefore have even more of a crop factor of 2x...so the 50mm lens looks like a 100mm lens, and so on. And recently, some new mirrorless bodies have just debuted which use a full frame 35mm sensor just like those old film cameras...so a 24mm lens = 24mm, 50mm=50mm, etc. Most of these mirrorless cameras can perform in full manual mode, where you set every parameter, and most an also shoot through these old lenses by metering through the lens, allowing you to use them in Aperture Priority mode, letting the camera choose shutter speed or ISO as needed. Some of these mirrorless cameras have manual focusing aids which can help you focus more easily by providing visual indicators of what parts of the frame are in focus (called Focus Peaking). Some of these mirrorless cameras come with viewfinders and some without - the viewfinders are electronic rather than optical since there is no true optical path from lens to viewfinder...these viewfinders range from basic small LCDs to very high resolution OLED finders that are quite large.

I have a DSLR, but also shoot with a Sony NEX-5N mirrorless camera, with an electronic viewfinder attached. The NEX is an APS-C sensor, so there is a crop factor of 1.5x with old manual lenses. It has focus peaking, and can meter through the lens so I can use priority or manual metering modes. I use my NEX with several different older mounts - I have Pentax K-mount lenses, Konica K/AR lenses, and Leica M-mount lenses. Each uses a cheap non-electronic adapter - mostly ranging in price from $20-30. I've got lenses from the 1980s, 1970s, and 1960s, made by Vivitar, Soligor, Rokinon, Osawa, Pentax, Konica, Chinon, and Voigtlander. All work beautifully on the mirrorless body - as simple as can be...most of the time I shoot in Aperture Priority - I set the aperture on the lens, focus, and the camera can pick the shutter and ISO. If I want more control, I switch to manual and set the shutter speed on the camera body, aperture on the lens, and ISO in the camera, then focus and shoot.

So if you have old Nikon mount lenses, you can consider either a Nikon DSLR or the mirrorless bodies. If you have Pentax mount lenses, you can consider a Pentax DSLR or the mirrorless bodies. And if you have any other mount, you can consider the mirrorless bodies.

Hope that helps!

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:40 am 
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I realize this might be a bit of a catch-22 but it might be possible for someone to ID the lenses if you post pictures of them as was done in this thread. (If you do post some pics, please keep in mind the forum maximum size requirement for inline (displayed) images is less than 1024 pixels wide. Linked pics can be any size, but a note/warning would be nice if they are extremely large.)

Mark


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:01 am
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Thanks very much for your replies.

I'd thought I was being clever just getting the diameter and length of the lenses, but having reading your comments I need to find out a lot more than that. Now I just need to be sneaky and get the camera bag out again when hubby isn't looking!

K.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:01 am
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OK. I've taken some photos of the lenses. All of them are branded Practica. As for the age, they're all over 20 years old but I can't be any more specific about them without ruining the surprise for my husband.

Justin, thanks very much for taking the time to write such a detailed post. I've gone through it over and over trying to break it down into what I need to look for next and lots of searching the terms on Google. So amm I right in thinking I need to buy a camera that has a mirrorless interchangeable lens? Can you tell from the lenses what type of mount they are?

There are so many cameras to choose from it's daunting. I like your description of the NEX. It sounds like just the sort of camera I'm looking for. I realise there are other brands to choose from but at least I've got a better idea of what I'm looking for.

Would you mind please taking a look at the photos of the lenses we have to see if I should be able to buy a camera that'll be able to use these? There are 4 lenses in total, and for 3 of them I've included a photo that shows the mount end.

Thanks again,
K.

Image
Lens 01a by topsecretbirthdaysurprise, on Flickr

Image
Lens 01b by topsecretbirthdaysurprise, on Flickr

Image
Lens 02a by topsecretbirthdaysurprise, on Flickr

Image
Lens 02b by topsecretbirthdaysurprise, on Flickr

Image
Lens 03a by topsecretbirthdaysurprise, on Flickr

Image
Lens 03b by topsecretbirthdaysurprise, on Flickr

Image
Lens 04 by topsecretbirthdaysurprise, on Flickr


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Those are interesting lenses, actually. Praktica was an East German brand, made out of the former Carl Zeiss factories in Dresden - later lenses were manufactured under that name from Cosina - but if they're the Prakticar Bayonet mount, which these appear to be, then optically they should be pretty good. One of the lenses is actually labeled PB on the lens end, which reveals what mount that lens is - it seems likely the others would share that same mount.

There are adapters for PB mounts over to NEX mounts - here's an example at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Praktica-Nex-vg10 ... B0094BSILE

I'm sure you can find others...and there should be mounts converting over to M4:3 mount as well as NEX. Since the lens registration is fairly large, you could probably convert these over to Canon's EOS mount as well - though I find the mirrorless bodies work a little better with manual mount adapters - with priority modes available and visual focus aids, as well as easy exposure judgement from the electronic viewfinders or LCDs.

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:29 am
Posts: 712
For nostalgic/aesthetic reasons, I'd like to see those lenses on an Olympus OMD E-M5. (Have a look at a Praktica MTL5 camera, and then a silver Oly E-M5 (about 2/3 down the page).) Plus, the E-M5 is a pretty good camera in its own right (which earned Camera Labs "Highly Recommended" rating). And it's starting to drop in price now that the E-M1 has been released.

You'll need a Praktica B (PB) lens to micro 4/3 camera adapter -- a Google (and/or eBay) search will turn up several companies that make them, and I personally use Fotodiox adapters to mount Canon EF lenses on my m4/3 cameras -- and as Justin noted previously, the lenses will be full manual. (No auto-focus, no electronic aperture control from the camera, etc.) But the E-M5's 5-axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) will work.

In any case, hope your husband enjoys his surprise - Mark


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:07 pm 
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Thanks Justin and Mark. I've spent all of today reading reviews of CMC's, their pros and cons etc, and I think I'm going to buy the Olympus OMD E-M1 and a 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens.

I'm going for the E-M1 over the E-M5 because the body has a bigger bit to hold onto and larger dials on top. Those 2 things alone will make it much easier for my husband to grip and use so that makes the extra cost worthwhile. And yes, I know there is a big price difference between the 2 models.

As for the lens, well I figure it's a good one for him to start with and get used to using the camera and learning the functions.

Now I just need to be sure of the adapter.

It's all very exciting and I can't thank you enough for your help. Just know that your advice is very much appreciated.


Karen.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:29 am
Posts: 712
Wow, that's gonna be one heck of a nice surprise! The E-M1 is a great camera. One of the forum Moderators, Bob Andersson, recently bought one. The only reason I suggested the E-M5 instead is because of the price difference. But since you're OK with that...

Mark


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