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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Low-Cost Lens Solutions

Think about using a lens adapter to get lower-cost specialty lenses

Labels: GearLens Adapters

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There are adapters for attaching all sorts of lenses to all sorts of bodies. You lose some camera functions, but these setups are really for rare shooting situations. The Adorama adapter also gives you some tilt and shift capability (above).
This automatic diaphragm operation doesn’t work when you use a lens adapter because the adapter doesn’t provide the necessary linkage. So you have to use stopped-down metering: You open the lens to its maximum aperture to get a bright image for focusing and composing, then manually stop it down to the aperture desired for the shot, and the camera meters at that aperture. Stopped-down metering isn’t always accurate, and some lenses shift focus when the aperture is changed—two things to keep in mind when using such adapters. DSLR users can refer to the histogram and LCD monitor image to check exposures.

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There are a number of companies offering lens adapters under various brand names. The accompanying Resources box provides more sources. However, there are some major players in the adapter market. Here’s a quick rundown.

Adorama offers a wide range of adapters, including their Flashpoint Tilt Adapter for Nikon Lens to Micro 4/3. Besides allowing you to mount Nikon lenses on Micro Four Thirds System cameras, this adapter allows you to tilt the lens 12° in any direction thanks to 360° rotation capability.

CameraQuest distributes an extensive range of adapters to mate a wide number of SLR and DSLR bodies with a wide range of lenses. Their website includes lots of good adapter information.

Novoflex also offers a wide range of adapters, including some to fit popular SLR lenses to Samsung’s new NX10 mirrorless camera.

Four Thirds System pioneer Olympus offers adapters to use Four Thirds System lenses on Micro Four Thirds System cameras, and old manual-focus Olympus Zuiko OM-system lenses on both Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds System cameras. With Four Thirds System lenses that are compatible with contrast-based autofocusing, AF capability is retained.

Micro Four Thirds System pioneer Panasonic offers adapters to mount Four Thirds System and Lecia M- and R-mount lenses on Micro Four Thirds System cameras, while retaining most, if not all, camera features.

Sony provides an adapter to mount Sony Alpha-mount DSLR lenses (and legacy Minolta Maxxum lenses) on its new Alpha NEX-3 and NEX-5 mirrorless cameras.

Zoerk offers adapters to mount medium-format lenses on 35mm and DSLR bodies, as well as adapters that provide shift and tilt capability with enlarger lenses on film and DSLRs.


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