Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7

Okay, everybody is talking about how manual lenses work so well on the Sony a7 series but how does it actually work? And which results can you expect? Read on if you want to know.DSC00720

Manual Lenses on the Sony a7/a7II/a7III

Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28  ~ $250
Olympus OM 2.8/100 ~ $100
 Minolta MC 1.4/50 ~ $60

Why should I use manual lenses?

    • They can be very cheap, you can get a great 1.4/50 lens for $50. For most applications such a lens will give you 90% of the performance of a $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55 FE. For the $1000 you would have to pay for that Zeiss you can buy an excellent set of five lenses from 20 to 300mm.
    • You have a huge choice between thousands of lenses ranging from exotic ones with lots of “character” to some of the very best lenses available.
    • There are 30-year-old primes with better image quality than many modern lenses. Of course progress has happened in recent years but still affordable primes are often sharper than very expensive modern zooms.
    • Old lenses are usually beautifully built from nothing but metal and glass which makes it a joy to handle them. They can last a lot longer than modern lenses which are full of electronics and very complex designs, both of which make them more likely to fail.
    • They also hold their value much better than modern lenses. With some patience you can sell most manual lenses without a loss but with new lenses you can expect to lose 30% in the first year.
    • Manual focusing can be very enjoyable. This certainly depends on application but personally I enjoy working with fully manual lenses a lot more than with any AF lens and I would choose a good manual focus lens over an AF lens (almost) any time. Check out our manual photographers series to read other photographers stories who feel similar about this.
Minolta MD 2/50 ~$25

Why shouldn’t I use manual lenses?

  • You have to do everything yourself. You have to think about the aperture and set it manually. You have to focus manually. Some people don’t enjoy the process at all. Other people like me prefer this process over using AF.
  • Manual focus is often slower than AF.  After some practice you will find that you can capture a lot more scenes with manual lenses than you thought. But you will miss some pictures you could have captured with the very good AF of most modern cameras.
  • If you adapt lenses exif information will be incomplete and the camera can’t correct lens defects like distortion, vignetting or lateral chromatic aberrations (CA). While lateral CA can be corrected automatically by a raw-converter like Ligthroom you need to correct distortion and vignetting manually. I wouldn’t recommend using JPG if you use manual lenses.
  • Image stabilizers are handy but manual lenses don’t have them. If you use a Sony a7/a7s/a7r you have to carry a tripod more often and achieving focus with longer lenses is a bit harder. Newer Sony cameras like the Sony a7ii or a7rii feature an integrated image stabilizer which works with manual lenses! You need to tell the camera your focal length though which costs 2 or 3 seconds.
  • Older lens coatings are less efficient  this means that many lenses have lower contrast when you have a bright light source in your image. But there is a big variation between manufacturers and age.

Are 30 year old lenses any good?

The short answer: Yes, they are.

The long answer: There are many old lenses which deliver very good image quality. And there are even more which aren’t any good. Here are two examples of very fine lenses:

Sony a7 | Olympus OM 2/100 | f/2 | ~$600
Sony a7 | Minolta MD 2.8/35 | f/8 | ~$70

Of course not every manual lens will be that good, here are some general observations I made while using manual lenses for 6 years:

  • There are many very affordable older lenses which give beautiful 24 megapixel (MP) files. These lenses will not perform any worse on higher resolution sensors of 36 MP and more but not that many of them will make a lot of use of the additional pixels. If you want the very best image money can buy go for modern lenses. Some of the very best E-mount lenses right now are manual.
  • At f/1.4 and wider older manual lenses are defined by lower contrast, mediocre sharpness and often busy bokeh. Recently released modern lenses like the GM 1.4/85 or Zeiss 1.4/50 show a much stronger performance but they also cost a lot.
  • Many legacy lenses are very good in the center from f/2 or f/2.8 where they are hard to distinguish from good modern lenses but sharpness decreases more towards the corners. If you stop them down to f/8 many older lenses are competitive with modern lenses across the frame.
  • Zooms have improved a lot over the last three decades and most of the older ones aren’t very good. But there are a few notable exceptions.

Many people worry a lot about the sharpness of a lens and then upload their pictures to social media where it is impossible to tell an excellent from a decent lens. Other factors like bokeh, contrast, color and CA in contrast are easily visible even at smaller resolutions. Because of that I think that the overall rendering of a lens is usually more important than its sharpness. I wouldn’t say that old lenses have nicer character than new ones since that is a matter of taste and lens designers pay more attention to smooth bokeh today. But there are certain looks you can only create with older lenses. Have a look at this interview to see how such looks can be applied.

The Zeiss Planar 1.7/50 offers high contrast, good sharpness and nice colors which make it a favorite of mine for landscapes.
Based on a 1938 design the Helios 2/58 is sharp in the center with fast falloff and swirly bokeh and popular among photographers who look for “character” lenses 
The Minolta MC 1.7/55 which is a little softer with some SA wide open helped me to capture the somewhat magical mood in this image.

To get a feeling how a modern lens like the Sony FE 1.8/55 compares to a much older lens check out my shootout between  the $20 Minolta MC 1.7/55 and the $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55.

This image with the $80 Pentax K 3.5/28 wouldn’t have been any sharper had I taken it with the 10 times as expensive Zeiss 4/16-35 FE.

If you use older lenses there will be trade offs you have to make but they also offer advantages. I can’t tell you if they will work well for you because that depends on what and how you shoot. You have to weight the advantages and disadvantages of these older lenses against your personal photographic needs. Since manual lenses are so cheap a little experiment isn’t very expensive though.

I shoot a lot of landscape, nature and an occasional portrait and I can tell you that I personally like to use them a lot because I enjoy the process more and because the optical shortcomings are not much of an issue for me. At faster apertures most of my older lenses have softer corners than modern ones but because I very rarely have important details in the corners that doesn’t matter to me. When I shoot landscapes I am at f/8 or f/11 any way and there many old lenses are competitive with modern lenses. So basically I pay a lot less for similar results as I would get with modern lenses and I have more fun taking them. If you want to do a bit of pixel peeping to get a better feeling on how well older lenses perform on a Sony a7 please check out this flickr album of full resolution images.

Do I need an adapter?


  • If you want to use an older lens on a Sony you need an adapter.
  • There are some third party manufacturers which offer their manual lenses with E-mount like the Laowa 2/15 or Mitakon 0.95/50.
  • Zeiss, Voigtlander and Tokina offer manual lenses for E-mount which have a chip and electronic contacts so the camera can record exifs and set the OSS automatically.

Which adapter you need depends on the lenses you want to use, every major manufacturer in the 70’s and 80’s had it’s own bayonet and you need one adapter for each bayonet you want to use.
Lets assume you want to use a Minolta MC 1.2/58 and a Canon FD 4/300 L, two of my favorite manual lenses. Then you need two adapters: A Canon FD to E-mount adapter* and a Minolta SR to E-mount adapter*.

Links marked with * are affiliate links on which I earn a small commission on your purchase without any additional cost to you.

Now if you clicked on the link above you will see that the is a vast supply of adapters in a very wide price range. To get started the cheaper K&F adapters* for $20 are perfectly fine.DSC00721
If you plan to use more expensive lenses I would  recommend a more expensive adapter like the one from Novoflex*. The Novoflex Adapter (which I have reviewed here) has lower tolerances and is more durable than the cheaper Chinese adapters. The difference isn’t huge but if you use your lenses a lot (like I do) you will appreciate the difference. For in-depth information on adapters and recommendations for many mounts check out Adapters for Manual Lenses on the Sony a7 series: The Guide.

Sony a7II | Voigtlander 1.7/35 | f/1.7 | A modern manual lens which is much more exciting than Sony’s 2.8/35.

How does manual focusing work and is it hard to learn?

There are several methods for focusing and each could be the best, depending on what you are shooting.

Focus Magnifier

For landscapes and other non-moving motifs I usually use the Focus Magnifier function. It is absolutely reliable, but it is also a bit slower that other techniques.

It works like this: You press a button and a small orange rectangle appears. You can move this rectangle around wherever you want to focus.


At a second press of the button the selected area is magnified so you can set the focus very precisely.


Tip 1: I can only recommend to assign the focus magnifier function to an easily accessible button. The default position is C1 but I find that button hard to reach. My choice is the AF/MF button.
Go to menu/ gear wheel/ 6 or 7 /Custom Key Settings/ AF/MF Button and select Focus Magnifier.

Focus Peaking

Focus peaking is another focusing aid of the a7 series. It will highlight areas of the image which have a high microcontrast in   red, white or yellow.DSC00731

There is an issue though: Even in it’s least sensitive setting it highlights too much. If you magnify a highlighted area you will often find that it is semi-sharp but it would have been sharper if you had used focus magnification.

Another issue is that sometimes peaking will paint your whole image red/yellow/white if there is a lot of detail like when you take pictures in a forest. This makes composition basically impossible.

I use focus peaking if I shoot quickly moving subjects were the image won’t be super sharp anyway but in general I think focus peaking is quite over hyped. It can be useful but most often it is not.

Tip 2: If you shoot raw you can set your image profile to black and white which makes the peaking more visible.

Tip 3: Top improve precision with focus peaking first try to get focus about right. Then focus a little back and forth and observe how the peaking color wanders. This will give you a better feel for the optimal focus position but it also slows operation down so you could use focus magnification right away.

The “flicker method”

If you want to focus fast and precise you can take advantage of a technical shortcoming of the electronic viewfinder (EVF). The camera does not use all the sensor information to generate the live-view image but it skips lines which results in the moiré-effect which we can use to our advantage.

You can learn to use it like this: The sharper your lens, the easier it is to see. Any 1.4/50 at f/2 should make it easy to see. Pick a subject with fine structures with some contrast like print or a carpet. Hold your camera steady and slowly focus. Now you should see sharp parts of the image to flicker. Once you know what to look for it is easy to see with softer lenses and

This method is more sensitive than the focus peaking and much less distracting.With this technique I usually get critically sharp images without using the focus magnifier button.

Tip 4: You can increase the effect by increasing the sharpening to +3 (Creative Style/ your picture mode/ Sharpness). This will result in over sharpened JPGs but if you are shooting raw this won’t bother you.

A typical situation were I used this method to focus quick enough before this robin flew away. Tokina 2.5/90 Macro | ~ $300

Manual Focus – Conclusion

It is in fact very easy to learn to focus manually. Over time your focusing skill will improve so that you can react faster and focus on people and other objects which are moving slowly. But it won’t take you more than 5 minutes to learn the basics needed to focus on a static object.

I also find that for landscapes and nature images my results are more reliable than when I use AF and I enjoy the process more because it is me who is focusing, not the camera guessing were I want to focus.

Of course there are many situations were AF is superior. If you have a young child a a7III with a 2.8/24-70 is a much more handy tool than a manual focus prime. With some experience you should be able to capture friends and family with manual lenses.

Which are some good lenses to get started?

If you want to explore manual lenses I would recommend you to start with a normal lens. Normal lenses can be used for a wide range of applications so when I decided to limit myself to only one lens for a whole month I decided to use a Minolta MC 1.7/55. Here is my selection of a three very different normal lenses you should consider to get started with manual lenses.

Minolta MC 1.7/55 – A well balanced lens

Introduced in 1966 the Minolta is built to the highest standards and turning its buttery smooth focus ring is a joy. It certainly isn’t the sharpest lens you can buy for under $50 but for most purposes it is sharp enough from f/1.7 with pleasant bokeh. When I compared it to the $1000 Sony FE 1.8/55 the most obvious differences were the weaker corners wide open and the rather weak flare resistance. At f/8 it is very hard to tell which is the $25 and which is the $1000 lens.

I like to recommend the Minolta 1.7/55 as first manual lens so well balanced and for me it stands for all the good qualities of legacy lenses. It is small yet very solid. It comes with a few optical compromises but these usually do not really affect the quality of your images. And last but not least it is dirt cheap at $20-30.

My review | check prices on* | adapter* for Sony E-mount

Sony a7 | Minolta MC 1.7/55 | f/1.7

Voigtlander APO Macro 2/65 – Modern perfection

If you can buy a good legacy lens for $25, why would someone spend $999 on a modern manual one? There is a number of reasons. The first one is comfort. While this is a proper manual lens with a very pleasant focusing ring it communicates exif information to the camera and you don’t need to think about an adapter. The second is that the Voigtlander 2/65 APO is a phenomenal lens, sharper and significantly better corrected for CA than the famous Sony FE 1.8/55.

If money is only a secondary concern to you and you simply want the best manual focus experience you can get don’t hesitate to get the Voigtlander.

My review | $999 at* | B&H* |*

Helios 44-2: A 80-years-old Zeiss design

When Zeiss introduced the Zeiss Biotar 2/58 in 1938 it was a state of the art lens. After WWII most of Carl Zeiss production facilities were shipped to the Soviet Union. There many Zeiss designs like the Biotar 2/58, now named Helios 44, were produced until the collapse of the SU, some even until today.There are many versions of the Helios 44 which came with small changes to the optical design. The 44-2 version is liked by many for its what some would call optical shortcomings and others “character”. The Helios is best known for its swirl-bokeh. The Helios 44-2 has very primitive coatings so shooting into the light will cause severe issues and at f/2 it is only sharp in the very center of the image. So aberrations will have a large influence on your image with the Helios but that’s what it makes attractive to some.

Personally I am not a big fan of effect lenses like the Helios 44-2 or the infamous Trioplan 2.8/100 but to quite a few people effect lenses like this are a reason to adapt manual lenses.

About $35 at* | Sony adapter*

More lenses

If you look for a set of lenses have a look at this article: A $400 lens kit for your Sony a7 series camera in which I present a very affordable set of manual lenses and a few alternatives.

My advice would be to stick to just a few lenses in the beginning but if you need some inspiration for other lenses check out our guides:

I paid 750€ for this Canon FD 2.8/300 which is nearly as good as the 10 times as expensive current version.

Which Sony camera is the best?

For manual lenses I prefer full frame cameras like the Sony Alpha 7II over APS-C cameras like the Sony a6000. I have to simplify a bit here but in general the larger sensor is less demanding on the lenses, you can get decent wide angle lenses, more DOF control and the sensor offers better image quality. This doesn’t mean that manual lenses are unsuitable for the a6x00 series but if you have the choice I would go full frame.

There are currently 4 generation of full frame E-mount cameras at the moment with up to 3 models. Which is the best for you? As always it depends. Here is my very brief take on the topic:

Sony Alpha 7

Sony a7 with the mighty Canon FD 1.2/85

It is priced very attractive and a good option if you are on a very tight budget. You will have to live with a few trade offs but overall it is still a very capable camera, especially with manual lenses. I used mine a lot for two years and still use it occasionally.
It has two design issues you should be aware of: The sensor is unusually reflective which can be a real issue for some applications and the mount can become loose which can be fixed by a replacement. For much more information check out my Sony a7 vs a7ii post.

About $500 used at* or new* 

Sony Alpha 7 Mark II 

The Sony a7II is my top pick to get started with manual lenses. I think it hits a sweet spot between the slightly more capable but much more expensive a7rII or a7rIII and adds some real value over the more affordable a7. The a7II’s integrated stabilizer compensates about two stops and makes focusing with longer lenses easier. The a7II has been my personal camera for 3.5 years now and I intent to keep it a while longer.
About $700 used at* or new at*

Sony a7rII

If you have a not that tight budget the a7rII might be the camera for you. The a7rII uses a BSI 42mp sensor which allowed to increase the resolution and high ISO performance over the a7II at the same time. It is nicer to handle camera with some additional features like silent shooting with a better EVF compared to the a7II. If you intend to adapt rangefinder lenses (like Leica-M or Contax-G) this camera is your best bet. Take a look at this article for further information.
About $1100 used at* or new at*

Sony a7III
AF is much improved over the a7rII but for manual lenses there are no real advantages over the cheaper a7rII so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Sony a7rIII

Sony’s third generation flagship offers many small improvements over its predecessor which give you a little better image quality and better operation. I think the biggest improvement is the much better EVF which makes using manual lenses quite a bit more pleasant. I think it is a great camera for manual lenses so if money isn’t a major concern to you don’t hesitate.
About $1800 used at or new at*

Sony a7r IV
Few reports so far but the new EVF should make using manual lenses even more enjoyable.

The Sony Alpha 7s is a specialist. It can be an exceptional tool if you are into video or do lots of high ISO work but for most users its 12 MP sensor will bring more disadvantages than advantages.

The Sony a9 is an expensive camera optimized for speed. I think it doesn’t make much sense for manual lenses.

The Sony Alpha 7r has a 36 MP sensor and it is very affordable, but it’s louder mechanical shutter can cause vibrations which degrade image quality.  As with the a7 the mount can develop issues. I find it hard to recommend.


Just give manual lenses a try. Decide on an affordable lens and buy it with the right adapter.

Sony a7 | Canon nFD 2.8/35 | f/8 | ~$50

You could find that you don’t enjoy using manual lenses and that you prefer AF lenses. Then you would have lost about two hours and $15 after selling the lens and adapter you bought for less than $100. So you would have lost very little.

Sony a7II | Minolta MD 2.5/100 | f/2.5 | ~$150

Or you might find that you enjoy working with manual lenses a lot. When I got my first Sony and discovered manual lenses, I found more joy in the process. That in turn improved my photography noticeably. Just like me you could find more enjoyment in photography and you could save a lot of money.

Sony a7 | Canon FD 4/300 L | f/4 |~$350

If you have any questions or suggestions just leave a comment!

Further Reading

Support Us

Did you find this article useful or just liked reading it? Treat us to a coffee!
via Paypal

This site contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using any of the links marked as affiliate links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support the creation of future content.

The following two tabs change content below.
I have two hobbies: Photography and photographic gear. Both are related only to a small degree.

Latest posts by Phillip Reeve (see all)

361 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7”

  1. In terms of zooms that might compete with the the Sony 70-200mm f/4 G, I’d say that both the C/Y Zeiss 80-200mm f/4 and the Canon FDn 80-400mm f/4L are very much up to the task. And neither is expensive.

      1. In terms of CA’s, I think its worse than the nFD 80-200mm f/4 L and the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS. There is some purple Fringing especially at the long end and f/4. It is easily correctable in LR and C1.

          1. No scientific test here, but I love the Contax N 70-200 (as well as the 24-85mm and the 100mm macro), sharp enough for me and lovely colours. Adapter is no budget item, though.

    1. For a f4 lens I would save the money and go for the Minolta 70-210 beer can and a la-ea4 adapter..f4 is not adequate for any serious indoor photography without a flash anyway and the adapter opens up all the a mount 2.8 glass with quick autofocus

      1. If fast focus is your priority or you value exif information a lot that is a viable path.
        Personally I would prefer a truly manual lens over a AF lens because of the process and also because a Minolta MD adapter is smaller and the available lenses cheaper

      2. Hello Ken , is it possible to use Minolta 70-210 without LA-EA4? I have no budget to get one, is it can use a cheaper adapter to control the Aperture?

        1. There is a Minolta MD Version of the 4/70-210 with the same optics which works fine with a $20 adapter.
          There are mechanical adapters for Minolta A-mount but using them isn’t that much fun.

    2. I have owned two Canon FD 80-200m f4L lenses, but only used them on the crop sensor of the 5N and A6000. The only manual zoom I have kept in this range is the Tamron Adaptall SP 80-200mm f2.8 LD. Whilst it shows more purple fringing than the Canon L glass at wider apertures, it is incredibly sharp across the frame – even on my A7ii. I have only used it once so far on the A7ii, but I love it as a landscape lens now – having previously used it largely for wildlife and portraits.

      They are occasionally on EBay and normally go for far less than they should do – beautifully built, including a metal lens hood.

  2. Well, I’ll let you judge for yourself. This is a screen capture jpg (ignore the compression) of the before an after. You can see a slight bit of longitudinal CA in the transition from shadow to sunlight on white flower petal and a bit on the edge of a petal transitioning into the green background.

    I’ve actually ended up selling the lens. I found that having the FD 135mm f/2 on the A7 or the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 my the E-M5, an aperture of f/4 just wasn’t enough appealing to me.

  3. Interesting Post, Philipp,
    especially I learned something new to have an alternative to focus peaking using a flaw of the EVF, have to try it out!
    On the adapters when using Nikon, especially the G lenses (those without aperture rings): I have the Novoflex (now for Sony-Nikon) adapter with the aperture ring and I am fine with it, however you can’t really control the aperture well enough with G-Lenses. For MFT I even calculated a rough scale to get the proper F-settings for the Novoflex:
    A good alternative are the adapters from metabones (not the speedbooster): They are not as expensive as the Novoflex but also have a very good quality. And there’s also an Nikon G adapter available allowing to control aperture by means of a f stop scale. On top it also has a removable dent with an arca profile alllowing you to mount heavier lenses on a tripod. I find myself preferring the metabones over the Novoflex …

    1. I have read several reports about bad quality control from Metabones and never about issues with Novoflex adapters and I am very happy with my own Novoflex adapters so I am a bit biased towards the Novoflex adapters. The Metabones mounting system seems to be better though.

      1. Hi Phillip,

        VERY nice article, as usual!

        I am constantly surprised about people disliking Metabones for one or the other reason. Some reviewers even claim the Sigma MC-11 would handle better than the Metabones IV AF adaptor, because Metabones “features a distracting Arca mount”!! These experts didn’t even realize that the Arca mount (a big advantage for some heavier lenses) is fixed with 2 hex screws which allow for easy removal, if desired. Metabones even supplies the corresponding hex key with the adaptor. So much for the “expert reviewers…”
        I own quite a lot of Metabones adaptors, which -with one exception- are all well crafted and work flawlessly. This is also true for the AF adaptors. The one slight exception is my copy of the Contax/Yashica adaptor, where the lens locking mechanism is a bit unreliable or not so distinct as I would like it to be- which it shares with another (no name) C/Y adaptor I have tried.
        I also use the AF feature of the Metabones IV frequently, as you know, especially with longer (Canon L IS USM) glass like the 4/70-200 or 4/300, and I am quite happy with reliability and even focus speed.

        1. I agree in general, but I DID have some reliability problems with both the III and the IV while shooting underwater, they would lose the lens from time to time, and opening the housing and reattaching the adapter is no real option there. No such problems with the MC-11.

  4. Nice posting and the tip about watching for shimmering is an interesting one. Two other advantages of manual lenses. (1) The focusing mechanisms are designed for manual focus, so not only feel better, but are often easier to control – smoother, with a bit more resistance than autofocus lenses in manual mode. (2) There are specialist adapters, such as the Kipon tilt-shift adapter that convert manual lenses into the equivalent of very expensive til lenses. The Kipon is limited in that it shifts only one way (I would say the wrong way relative to the tilt) but it is nice to have this.

    Everyone has their favourite choices of manual lenses. Mine are Olympus OM, which are very compact and the best of them are very good, though a few of them are quite pricey.

  5. If you do not tell these “newbies” about the stacking problem with the a7r you are doing them quite a big disservice – you will then hear from them.

  6. Hallo Phillip,

    erst Mal danke für den informativen Artikel. Ich habe kürzlich für meine A7R eine Canon 35mm 2.8 TS S.S.C. Linse erworben und mir dazu einen entsprechenden FD – NEX Adapater (NIPON) besorgt. Der Adapter hat objektivseitig jedoch extrem Spiel, vermutlich mehr als 1mm und erzeugt dadurch bei Einstellung auf Unendlich für unschärfen – ist also praktisch unbrauchbar.

    Da dies meine einzige Canon FD-Linse ist, kann ich nun schlecht einschätzen ob es am Adapter liegt oder an der Linse. Daher meine Frage an Dich: Hast Du ggf. Erfahrung mit dieser Linse bzw. kannst Du (ggf. ganz allgemein) FD-Adapater empfehlen?

    VG Marco

    1. Ich habe das Objektiv und sowohl mit meinem recht teuren Novoflex als auch mit günstigeren Adaptern gibt es da kein (Novoflex) oder wenig (billige Adapter) Spiel. Würde den Adapter austauschen

  7. Good job! I found that there are lots of quality contents on your website. I browsed through the sample images page on your Flickr then I saw that the Name of the manual focus lens and focal length display on your Adobe lightroom screenshot. Could please share to us … How can you do that ??? Thanks 🙂

    1. you can edit the the exif info with a tool called LensTagger. You can save profiles for different lenses. It is still abit of work and you have to remember lens and aperture but it can be very handy

      1. Hello Phillip,

        Thank you very much for your reviews and guides. I’ ve read them with love and deep interests. I’ve recently bough a new C/Y-Nex K&F Concept adapter for my Contax Zeiss lenses, which I am very happy about.

        MF lenses are my favorites. I am also using LensTagger for updating exif info. Is there any way to automatically record aperture or you have to remember and update manually each photo using LensTagger?

        Thank you

  8. Just got the a7 ii and trying old Nikon glass: Nikkor-H 28mm, f3.5, and Nikkor Reflex-C, 500mm. I am using the Metabones N/F-E Mount adapter. Thus far, more luck with the 500 than the 28. Two issues: 1) In both cases when I set up the menu under Camera Settings…(screen 7) Steady Shot Settings…Steady Shot Adjust…when I press Steady Shot Adjust, it comes back with a message, “Lens, Invalid because lens not attached. Attach the lens correctly.” With the 500 I am still getting good pictures, despite the message saying no lens is attached. 2) On the 28, even though I adjusted the focal length to 28 in the menu setting, in EVF and final picture I get a circular view of the object with all the corners blacked out. Any help appreciated.

      1. Im using an ais nikon manual 28 f3.5 on my a72 with metabones n-fe, and getting great results, barely any fringing except at f22 etc, has he set the cam to “release without lens” enable? [your meant to arent you with man lenses?]
        I have the ibis set to 28 focal length. You can see some photos taken with it on the forum. No problems at all.

    1. Make sure that the camera doesn’t switch automatically to the APSC format : when the camera is set to auto switch (aka detecting whether you have mounted an APSC or a FF lens) it will work correctly with FE or E lenses, but may guess wrong with legacy glass that don’t communicate with the body. So set that option to FF.
      If that wasn’t the problem, then the culprit may be the adapter. Some adapters made before the introduction of the A7 series were built with the Nex and and APSC format in mind and the opening isn’t enough for FF. It may be enough for tele, but not for wide angle.
      Last but not least : some wide angle lenses have a design which was OK for film, but not for digital : the incoming rays of light are striking the sensor at a too oblique angle thus resulting in a lot if smearing and vignetting. Typically, lenses that were made for range finder film bodies are bad performers starting up at 35mm and shorter. This is often the result of symmetrical design. Most Leica M lenses 35mm and shorter are bad performers for instance. You will be luckier with SLR lenses that have a retro focus design.
      Also : the defaults/weakness of any lens will get magnified on digital sensors, especially if you have an A7r.

    2. When using old manual focus lenses on the Sony alpha cameras you need to go into the menu and choose the option to ” release shutter without lens attached ” since it doesn’t see any lens attached when an old lens with adapter is attached due to no contacts on the lens so you have to change the setting when using old lenses. Hope this helps.

      1. Hi guys, thanks for the very informative post and comments. I have just started using manual lenses with my Sony alpha and am loving the more organic use of my camera. One thing I can’t work out though is that the exposure of the image I see on the screen/viewfinder is different to what is actually captured by the camera. It will look fine on the screen but the image is over or under exposed. Is there a setting somewhere I need to change? I’ve had to check all my photos to make sure they are exposed correctly.

        1. hmm, curious. Do you own any native lenses and does whichever exposure mode you are using work with them? Normally there shouldn’t be a difference between the exposure you see in the viewfinder and the final image

    3. Don’t bother with the massive vignetting on the 28mm. Same with my Leica Elmarit 28mm. Lighromm* helps you to correct it. * .-)

  9. Hi Phillip,

    I have just happened across your website after searching for manual focusing with Sony A7. I have read all your posts on the subject with great interest. My main reason for wanting to find out more about manual focusing on the A7 is because I have two legacy Nikon lenses that I still use on my film SLR. This are a 28mm 2.8 Ais and 105mm 2.5 AiS. I have bought myself a Fotodiox adaptor and have been practising manual focusing via the Peaking method and I have to say I am very hit and miss with regards to getting the main element of the image in focus.

    So, I was very interested in two points you make in your blog post, one is the peaking sensitivity. I have it set on high sensitivity at the moment using the assumption that this is better, but you mention having it on low sensitivity. Should I set mine to low, and of yes why is that, is there a benefit to having it set to low?

    The second point is in regards to you ‘shimming’ suggestion. I have tried this against some fabric and notice what I think is the shimmering, but when I put it against other subjects I only get a solid haze of speckles from the peaking function, I can’t seem to see this shimming affect. I am wondering if I have it on incorrect settings to experience this, please can you expand in the manual focus ‘shimming’ proces to help my better understand it.

    Thanking you in advance.

    1. the higher the peaking setting, the less selective it will be in highlighting areas which are not really sharp. Even in the lowest setting focus peaking will highlight areas which are not really sharp.

      If you want to use the shimmering method you must deactivate peaking!

      1. Hi Phil,

        Brilliant thanks, I have done this and am getting much improved results already. I just need to train my eye to see the shimmering better and quicker.


      2. Hi Phil,

        Thanks for all you do.

        I am missing something about the Shimmering pixels.

        I have focus peaking turned off and still don’t see the shimmering pixels.

        Would you happen to have screenshot of what it looks like?

        Thank you!

          1. Yes Phil. I have Zebra and Focus Peaking turned off and Sharpness in Creative details set to +3. To me it just looks like manual focusing with any manual lens. I am not seeing any shimmering. What am I missing?


          2. which lens do you use? at what aperture? what are you focusing on? I would suggest a sharp lens like any 50mm lens at f/2.8 and some fabric to focus on. You should definitely be able to see it then. if you know what to look for you will see it much more easily

          3. Hi Phil,

            Posting out of sequence here since the reply button was not available on your last response.

            Which lens am I using? Thanks to your recommendations, I now have pretty much every lens you have recommended except the 85mm ones. I will try with all my minolta lenses by focusing on a fabric (I take it you mean like a blanket or other cloth).


  10. Hey Phillip,

    Thanks for the info. Its been extremely informative. I was wondering if you had a recommendation on a Minolta or Canon FD lens in the 200mm focal range? thanks

  11. Hi Phillip,
    I’m an illustrator and painter and want to buy a camera to shoot my artwork, and also of course take pics of other general stuff.
    I was looking between the Sony a6000 and the a7. My budget is more for the a6000 but I might be able to make it to the a7 price range.
    You can see in my blogsite scans of my drawing and sketching on paper mainly. I also do very large drawings on paper. Mostly, I’m looking to see if I can take pics of my work inside my studio and without special lights and all that. That’s why from what I’ve been reading the a7 sensor might be important.
    I also have two old Minolta MD lenses from my old film camera. I know that by buying the adapter I can use them on these cameras. And that’s pretty interesting.
    Any advice?
    Thanks a lot.
    Javier Aguilar

    1. so, which Minolta lenses do you have?
      I think a decent lighting setup is more important for your reproductions than the camera (unless you have some patience and nice window light). For reproductions I would buy a cheap Nex-5n and a cheap macro like the Minolta MC 3.5/50 Macro. Should be less than $300.

      1. I have:
        1. Minolta MD 135mm 1:3.5, o49mm
        2. Albinar ADG 28mm 1:2.8 Macro Focus, o52mm
        And I’ve checked into adapters and the FotodioX Adapter for Minolta MD/MC/SR Rokkor Mount Lens to Sony NEX Mount Camera, seems to be able to handle these lenses well I think.
        I have a studio with high ceilings and a very big window. Also I installed a large ceiling fluorescent lamp system which gives off quite a lot of light. The only problem is that the light color comes out very yellow with my point-and-shoot little Fuji camera that I have been using for years now..

        1. I would try to avoid any artificial light, put the camera on a tripod and experiment with different kinds of natural light (cloudy, sunny, different hours of the day). I don’t know about your other uses for the camera but for that specific application I would not buy a fancy modern camera. Image quality is the same with a Nex-5n.
          That Minolta lens is decent, the Albinar probably not. Fotodiox Adapters seem to work well enough.

        2. How big are your drawings ? How big is your studio ?
          This will determines the focal length you need. Usually a 50/60mm focal length is what will reproduce your drawings with the less distortion. This is OK for smaller drawings, of if you can shoot from further away.
          Don’t forget that using an APSC sensor a 50mm lens will become a 75mm (requesting smaller drawings or a longer distance from the drawing).
          If your drawings are A3, you won’t gave problems, but if they are 1, 2 meters a 135mm mounted on APSC format will probably be too long.

        3. Fluorescent lighting is a nightmare if you want correct colors.
          You can use a Gretag Macbeth color checker card, or a white balance card in order to get the right colors : just rake a picture of the card at the beginning and then correct the results in postprocessing. Don’t use AWB (auto white balance) so that all the shirts will have the same color balance and all will need the same correction.

          1. Hi, thanks for the fantastic instructional blog. I have a NEX-6 and a Novoflex adapter for Yashica/Contax lenses. I have a couple of fixed Zeiss lenses (50 1.7 and 85 2.0) I also have a couple of zooms (Yashica and Tamron) from my old Contax camera system. With the NEX-6 and Novoflex adapter, I have had a lot of trouble of getting a sharp focus (nowhere near the Sony’s autofocus). Is there a way to get a sharp focus on these manual lenses? I am looking at the Sony A7 and would love to start using the manual lenses more often.

          2. Do you use focus magnification or focus peaking? I think it is very unlikely that an adapter is the reason for your unsharp images, you technique is a much mor elikely reason

  12. Excellent article, Phillip. It covered all the questions I was asking myself about where to start on manual lenses. I have the Sony A7ii, and am looking forward to experimenting with the legacy lenses. Thank you.

  13. Hi Phillip, thanks for your reply. I am sure it is all about me, the user. But, to whom do turn to find out the correct method? As to focusing methods (focus magnification or focus peaking), please explain. Thanks.

  14. Hi Philipps and thanks for good advice on focussing!
    I have much fun using my 30 years old Nikkor 1,4/50 with Novoflex adapter for close-ups with f 2 or 2,8 for little deepth of field.

  15. I took your advice and ordered some used Minolta lenses for my A7. So far, the results were not good.

    The two lenses I received so far are a 28mm 2.8 MD that was listed as being in “great condition” and a 35mm 2.8 MC that was listed as being in “excellent condition.”

    The 28mm lens had a focusing ring that was so tight it was difficult to turn. The 35mm lens had some kind of black crud inside the front optic, possibly mold.

    Both of these sellers specified “no returns” so I have to ask for a return based on the item being misrepresented. If the seller doesn’t reply, I’m going to have to try and recover my money from eBay.

    I ordered a replacement for the 35mm lens from another seller. In addition, I have two more lenses coming, one from another eBay seller and one from B&H.

    Based on my experience, I would not advise anyone to buy used old lenses on eBay. The sellers don’t seem to be honest.

    1. Sorry to hear about your misfortune. There are certainly unhonest people on ebay and it is often not that easy to spot them. But if you are careful and a bit more experienced your chances of getting bad lenses are very low, I have probably bought over 100 lenses on ebay and I had only four cases were they were in bad condition, three of them could be resolved.

      If you are not that experienced I would try to buy from professional sellers or KEH were you have a right to return lenses. This will be more expensive but also less risky.

    2. I had a similar experience recently. I bought a Minolta 28-70mm 3.5 MD zoom lens from an eBay seller who claimed to be the original owner and lens was in excellent shape. Unfortunately what I received was a lens with about 1/3 area in the mid element covered by extensive fungi growth. Had to raise an eBay case to get my money back. There are a lot of dishonest sellers on eBay.

  16. hi phillip,

    I wrote to you directly about a week ago, but I didn’t get an answer. as you made this wonderful guide, I would like to put a link on the front page of my (future) web page you explained everything, so why should I try to repeat what you already said in very concise way? it would be a great help.

    with my future site I want to share my findings about manual lenses on the a7, just for fun. there will be no adverts and there is no professional interest for me. it’s only about sharing information. the site is not ready yet, I’m working on the sample pictures. there will be a bunch of russian m39 lenses soon.

    so, if you could give me the permission for a link I would be delighted.

    kind regards


  17. Hi Phillip, thanks in advance for the article…its really interesting.
    I’m a canon user, mostly shooting video, but i’ll switch to Sony, A7S probably….mirrorless cameras can rescue a lot of lenses, as you said.
    I intend to buy at less three lenses 35mm 50mm 85/100mm to cover that section. I was thinking in manual lenses, of course, but i can afford a higher budget, but not enough to get a native Zeiss. What lenses would you recomend me? Voigtlander, this new cinema line from Rokinon…etc. that worth? By the way, great photos and surprising performance from Minoltas lenses.
    Thanks again!

  18. Good site.
    I finally switched from my Canon F1 to the A7m2.
    I have tried some FD lenses and looked at their raw image and histogram:
    17F4; 20F2.8; 28F2; 50F1.4; 85F1.8; 135F2.5; 200F4; 500F8(Tamron).

    The wide angle lens are very sensitive to the adapter. I had one for 15Euro that was not black enought and the stray light reflection would be bad for the picture. The Fotodiox adapter seemed ok, but there might be better ones. It seems not to matter with tele lenses.
    I love the looks of the 17mm and want to buy a 14 mm too. The 50 and 85 mm where too soft with open fstop, the 135mm was a surprise and very good.
    I compared the Sony kit zoom at same mm values to the FD lenses. The FD lense have a better contrast, the FE lens looks flat compared to them ( at same fstops).
    The image stabilization is another game changer. I can shoot the tele lenses at low light now. The 500 mm is good to use with the EVF even at F8(fix), much better than on the F1 even with the bright laser viewfinder lens.

    I hope for an improved adapter that would signal the fstop position to the camera. So far I am quicker with the F1 as I see time and fstop in the viewfinder. A motor drive fstop change should be possible too.
    Focus with open F stop is good even without magnification, but I did use my F1 with the laser viewfinder lens without any focus help for years and am used to it. I am still trying to find the correct Lightroom settings because I have not quite got to the analog color cibachrome quality yet but I am sure I get there. It would be great to receive advice on that.
    These are truly modern times now thanks to Sony.

  19. Gran blog amigo Phillip , me encanta, como fanático de las lentes manuales es todo un lujo leerte.
    personalmente creo que las lentes nativas son demasiado caras y poco luminosas, prefiero adaptar lentes manuales y disfrutar relajándome de mis disparos.
    gracias por tu dedicación y esfuerzo .

    saludos cordiales

  20. Thank you for this great write up and the excellent review of the FD 50mm 1.4 lens with A7. I bought my A7 about six month ago and have been enjoying it every time I was taking pictures. I have the Minolta MD 50mm 1.7 from my X-700 days. I also bought the Canon 50mm 1.4 based on its good reputation. I found the Canon 50mm is sharper and more contrasty then the Minolta.

    I am a bit worried about sensor reflection problems of the A7 as the highly reflective sensor is so close to these old manual lenses which do not have modern anti-reflective coatings. Any thoughts/advice on this subject? Thanks again.

  21. I enjoy your writings about the Sony alpha camera. I just purchased the alpha 7 II and am having trouble identifying a good description of the focusing techniques. Nothing out there spells it our in simple language, for instance, how to move the focus cursor, when and what size cursor works best in what situations. Can you point me to a source. Thank you.

    1. Hi Bob,
      you can move the cursor byclicking the wheel at the back in the direction you want it to move.
      I usually zoom in once because thats enough for me.

      I don’t know any source which details these steps, I would recommend to just experiment a bit

    2. It took me a while to learn to focus. The EVF is not as sharp an optical viewfinder so focusing is much slower. Now, the focus magnifier is all I use. Focus peaking only works on sharp edges so it’s usually useless for many subjects.
      With a fast lens, I sometimes open the lens and use the shallow depth of field to assist before stopping it down to the DOF I want. Old SLRs did this automatically but A7s don’t do this.
      My main point is that it took several days to learn to focus satisfactorily. It’s an involving process and it really slows the camera down. But forcing involvement gives added value to the cameras.

  22. Hi Phillip,
    Thanks for the article! I would like to use your affiliate ebay links, however you have included only and Consider adding an affiliate links as well.

  23. Fantastic write up! I recently came across a super albinar mc auto zoom 80-205mm lens at a thrift store in great condition and was hoping to find an adapter to fit a sony a7, however Im having some trouble. Could anyone lead me in the right direction?

      1. Wow thanks for the fast reply. Is there any more info, measurements, or pics that I could give you on the lens that might help determine the proper adapter?

        1. you could mail me a picture of the mount but I can’t promise that I will be able to identify the mount. You should aslo know that the lens is most probably not very good. A $20 Minolta MD 2/50 will eprform mcuh better

  24. Philip, I rarely leave comments, but this article blew my mind. Such well written and in-depth piece. After reading I immediately learned how to use my manual lens on Sony A6000. Thanks a lot!

  25. Hi Phillip,

    Firstly can i say i love your site. I have been looking for an affordable E mount lens for ages and then found your site. I have since ordered an adaptor (K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for Minolta MD)and a Minolta 135mm F3.5 Lens (arrived today) I have been out over lunch for a quick play with it and I love it. Need to work on getting the images sharper though (Focus) but this will come with practice i guess.

    The adaptor is very well made i think its a solid metal thing and did not notice any movement when using it.

    Thanks again


  26. You sir are the best. I been reading every single review and saw most of your Flickr photos of the lens you use. I bought a a7ii back in March and I am stuck with the kit lens. And I kinda stopped taking photos because the lens can do so much. And the fact that FE lens cost an arm and leg, but after reading all your articles I am glad to say I have ordered a few Minolta lens and adapter of course and look forward to take photos again. And I hope you can increase on options for manual lenses and reviews. So I can buy. Thank you ! Looking forward to more posts

      1. My 2 cents about the manual zooms :

        The 80-200 Zeiss is decent, but if you don’t miss the 70-100mm range, the 100-300 is in another league. It’s MUCH more expensive for sure, but it’s really impressive. When I say really impressive, I mean that it can easily compete with the best primes when stopped down, mostly from 100 to 200mm. The 80-200 is not bad, but it simply looks soft compared to the 100-300mm. I have 2 copies of the 80-200, maybe they are not great, but so take this for what it is, I don’t think I’m THAT unlucky with two copies. The 100-300 is big, heavy, it can be difficult to stabilize it from 200 to 300mm, but it gives really really impressive photos.

        And his little brother is also terrific closed down. I’m not talking about the 28-70mm, but the 35-70mm. At F8, it’s terrific, every where, corner to corner, any focal length. It’s better WO at 35mm than the Minolta version, but a bit less good at 50 and 70mm. Both lenses are terrific for landscapes. The Minolta feels like a toy compared to the Zeiss though. The build quality of the Zeiss is terrific. So if you are looking for landscape lenses, the pack “35-70mm + 100-300mm” can replace a bag full of primes, or almost. You just need to add the new 16-35mm or a Loxia 21mm 😉

        (ok, it’s not a budget pack… But still, it’s less than the equivalent bag of modern primes for this usage).

  27. If I need to use some legacy rangefinder wide-angle lens, will both A7II and A7SII has similar performance.

    The lens are such as Zeiss 21mm f4 biogon, Zeiss 35mm f3.5 planar, Leica 21mm f3.4 super angalon.

    My major concern is the color change effect.

    1. The a7ii will be a lot sharper in the center and at least as sharp in the corners. Colorshift will be worse on the a7II. That Biogon won’t work well at all, I don’t know about the others

  28. Hello phillip, I enjoyed reading this article. I just bought a Sony a6000 and I know you said you preferred full frame cameras but this is what I could afford for now because I now know how expensive glass and cameras can be. Will I still get great image quality out of my a6000 with these older lenses? I like shooting product photography as well, Cakes, food and beer. Can you recommend a prime or all around lens for this style of photography? Manual, Af or zoom? I just don’t want to break the bank because I can’t afford 500+ lenses at this point? Saving up for my studio lights and gear. Thank you for your time and hope to hear from you!

  29. Hey Phillip. Face palm moment but i need your help with lenses. I thought i would bite the bullet as someone new to photography and buy the Sony a7ii. I have had a look at the Sony lenses for this camera and they are very pricey, not just that but in all truth i have no idea what lens(es) i will need. I am someone who wants to take nature pictures of forests and just all things nature. So as an all rounder nature lens which which won’t cost me the earth would you recommend? Also as just a general all rounder what would you recommend? And could you also tell me what adapters i would need for the the two lenses you suggest? I’m sure you have covered this in this very well written article but i’m new to photography so bare with me for this one. I hope you can help me, thank you, Ryo.

    1. Hey Ryo,

      as i write in the article I would recommend a 1.4/50 lens to get started. You will also find links to adapters in the article. When you have learned to use the 50mm lens you could add a 24mm and a 100mm or 135mm lens.

  30. Thanks for the review and the many good comments! I´m really thinking about trying this myself…

    So, with manual lenses, do you have to set aperture and / or shutter speed manually as well (besides focusing manually)?

    Greets Mat

  31. Very Informative website. Thank you. Have you got the chance to review the A7rii with the manual lenses? Benefits etc as I’m leaning towards that.

    1. it is a great camera but there is one issue with the focus magnification, it is very soft at 5x zoom wich is annoying. But I have no personal experience with it, just read about it.

  32. Great site!

    I bought a sony A6000. and I have many old Minolta lenses. They give great results…when I get it right…
    I have used Focus peak (not always very good) but I cannot find the focus magnifier (not same menu as A7 for which you explain). Can you help?

  33. With the A 6000. I have lenses from 24mm to 500mm rf and they don’t need the same speed (500mm needs at least 1/640 s I would assume while 24mm can tae 1/30s). Is there an elegant way to manage this? (beyond aperture (notan option for 500), I suppose the ISO could adapt itself). What mode would you suggest? (have not found the menu with focal length you mention for A7 in A 6000)

  34. Hello Phillip, Have you tryed the old Zuiko om lenses? Do you think they would work nicely on an A7II? Great article!


  35. In argentic, I always used to have 2 cameras (each with a different lens, one with colour film, one B&W) and occasionaly had an extra lens. I now have an APS-c (A 6000) with many “cheap/old” prime lenses from 24mm to 500 mm (eq 36 to 750 mm so unbalanced towards teles) and am thinking on 2 options:
    – Buy another A6000 and then add say a Sony zoom 10-18 mm or a short focal length prime
    – Buy an A7 (to choose between the 4+ models available: stabilisation or not, 24 Mp or 36/42 Mp) and just keep my lens range as it is since I’ll have 24mm on FF

    Any advice on the 2 options?

    1. How important is the wideangle side for you? The E 4/10-18 is a nice and versatile lens and few manual lenses will perform as well.
      I like the results I am getting on FF with manual lenses more than those I got with APS-C sized sensors.

      So I would lean towards a a7II

      1. Thanks. Very useful as everyday use and results is what really counts.
        I was expecting 35mm manual lens to perform better on APS-c since you crop the centre of the image where the lens has better performance but, I suppose there are other parameters (DOF,…).
        Obviously, A7ii has got stabilisation, a plus, but I assume you have to tell the camera what focal length you are using (as it will not know) and the camera is quite heavier
        (I also assume 24 mP is enough since it is 4000*6000 which gives quite a lot of definition…)
        Will first improve my understanding of the A 6000 because I am not used with these endless menus and bits and pieces all around the camera and may wait for the A7ii to become a bit cheaper/my savings higher.
        By the way the MD rokkor 100mm f4 macro is great (plus eq 150 mm gets you closer

  36. Do you use the a7 and manual lens combo with an external flash sometimes? Like when shooting a party/wedding/dancefloor in low light? I havent got any experience with manual lenses or the a7, but I’m really thinking of switching.

  37. Thanks for some great info. As a recently retired portrait photographer I am looking for my last camera. I am going mirrorless because I believe this is where we are all going. a thought on adaptors, I have no problem paying $250 for one. This is what I am wondering, all of my lenses will be FD primes so could you just put the adapter on the camera and leave it there? I am goingbwith the A7ll because of the reported lens mount issue with the A7, again I am looking for my last camera. Thanks again for all the great info.


    1. Nothing wrong with leaving the adapter on the camera.

      I am very happy with the Novoflex adapter so if you are looking for the best solution and don’t hesitat to pay good money for it I would go for it.

        1. Would just like to add my adapter recommendation, for Kindai(rayqual), Japanese manufacture.
          Very accurate, well engineered AND incorporating two baffles to “prevent” internal reflections. Not sure how prices are in Germany, but in UK, Amazon sell them for £89.99. (If you get charged at customs for extra, I found the supplier refunds the extras as soon as notified.)

          1. The Kindai(Rayqual) adapters come from Japan Hobby Tools in Japan (Despite what Amazon advert says).
            Yes, I find the baffles very effective, though I also add flocking, just in case.
            They are very accurate in length with practically no variation in machining.

  38. Hong Kong reader here. Just want to say hi. I love your blog and I find it very relaxing to read your blog. Great pictures and reviews! Please keep working on your great works! 🙂

  39. Thanks to all for good advice, because of you, I have a a6000 and A7 with Minolta’s manual lens and happy with results, if somebody ask if you can shoot a wedding with manual lens you can say of course and really happy with my rokkor 58 1:1.2, 45 1:2 and 135 1:2.8
    again thank you

  40. Hi Phillip,
    Thank you for this info on using older lenses on the A7. Your points have made me think I should get an A7 instead of the A7 II that I have been thinking about. Better value.
    Looking at my old gear I have an old Hanimex PZ4200 flash. Do you know if it would be compatible with the A7?
    Thanks for your info!

  41. Interesting to see the comparison with the Sigma 24mm Super Wide II. I was rather surprised just how well this worked at landscape stops (f8-f11) on my A7R and the ‘macro’ focus is useful also. Another but of course slightly more modern wide angle I’ve found to be excellent on the A7R is the compact but solid 20mm Nikkor f2.8 AF, examples of both on flickr

  42. Hi Phillip

    Read your review about manual lenses was a really pleasant experience. I am a Nikon (actually D610) and mostly 50mm last 2 years.
    Now I am going A7II and love wide angle.. What do you suggest :
    – Samyang 14
    – Voigt 15 (waiting)
    – manual legacy (suggestions??)
    – Some new Sony FE ..

    Again, thank you for your job!


    1. If you want to go really wide the both the Samyang and Voigtländer are good solutions. I would choose the Samyang if speed is important to you. Personally I would choose the smaller and lighter Voigtländer. Both are very good optically but the Samyang seems to be not very reliable.

      1. Phillip

        Thanks for you fast return ! I am undecided :

        -a7 for 1000 euros (body only)
        – a7 I I for 1689 euros..

        Ideas ?

        Best ,


        1. Evaluate for yourself how important the stabilizer is. The a7ii has a bit better grip, somewhat improved AF and a few other features. It is a better camera than the a7 but if you look at the larger picture the differences aren’t huge.

          Here in Germany the a7ii body can be had for about 1500€ and at that price difference I would choose the a7ii.

  43. Thanks! “increasing the sharpening to +3” great advice. I’ve been shooting a Leica M6 for years. Simplicity itself.

    I have been disappointed by the clutter and distraction of the A7. EVF is a great idea, but I still feel like I’m looking at a video game.

    Also, the list of lenses is exciting. I should add that there many of the Nikon legacy lenses are excellent and adapt well.

    This bit of advice will keep me from selling the thing.

    I assume the 24mp sensor is more forgiving than the 36/42 mp alternative.

    Finally, your work is lovely.

  44. Hi, I did not go through all the comments so I don’t know if somebody has pointed this out already, but one thing you don’t mention is that these old manual lenses can be easily calibrated to focus to infinity at their infinity hard stops. I my self calibrated Canon FDs 50 and 28mm and Minolta MDs 24 and 135mm on my FUJI X-Trans camera. I am awaiting delivery of A7 shortly so I am going to recalibrate them again for A7 + relevant adapters. This way you don’t have to critically focus for anything which is for example 5 meters+ away from Canon FD 28mm and similarly with other lenses. You just move your focusing ring to infinity hard stop and shoot without worrying. And that is the major beauty of these lenses which very much simplifies shooting street, landscapes, nighscapes, starscapes etc. Just twist the ring to hard stop and shoot 🙂

      1. Thanks 🙂 What I ment was that I attach the lens to the adapter that it is going to be used with, and calibrate the lens itself, not the adapter. You calibrate it wide open for best accuracy and then you can rest asured it will be tack sharp stopped down when shooting i.e. landscapes. The thing is that lens adapters have margins to guarantee infinity focus so the lenses usually focus well past the infinity on the infinity hard stop, thus calibrating them enables you to shoot these vintage lenses as they meant to be shoot on film cameras. Basically, you don’t have to worry if your focus is right when shooting landscapes, cityscapes etc. especially in dark. On the top of that, calibrating them is really easy. I may make a video on how to because I think that properly calibrated infinity focus is soooo handy i many situations. 🙂

        1. I would be very interested to see how you do this Vit. Please do make this video. I have several lenses from the same manufacturer where one will hard stop at infinity and the other will focus beyond with the same adapter. This is very frustrating as I am a weather photographer and rely heavily on infinity focus.

  45. Hi Phillip,

    Thank you so much for such a practical, helpful, informative, and inspirational website and set of blogs and images. And I congratulate you on your excellent use of english too. Your sharing of your knowledge and experience has helped give me the confidence to take the next step and buy an A7ll. I would like to do this through one of your affiliate links. I couldn’t see one on the site though for Amazon UK? Also you might consider linking to Wex photographic who are a very good uk online retailer?

    I have a few questions that you may be able to help me with when finalising my set-up. I bought myself a Sony RX100ii two years ago now I am retired as a carry everywhere camera to see if I could enjoy getting back into photography after many years of just carrying a point and shoot compact for holidays as my family grew up, whereas in my twenties and early thirties I had a really good Exacta then a Contax film camera and lenses and used to enjoy taking really nice images, particularly landscapes, but which I haven’t used for 25 years. I did switch to digital right at the start but was pretty disappointed with the results in those days and work pressures took over anyway. I have been really pleased with the RX100ii, most recently using it mainly with Manual mode, Raw, and toggling to manual focus and focus magnification on critical images, although have had to learn how to get the best out of the autofocus as my film cameras were manual focus only. And the Rx100ii is manual focus by wire of course and this is not very easy to use. I have been able to get some really nice images but now want to step up and also to use again my Contax (c/y) Zeiss lenses as they will seem both much more natural for me to use and also should give excellent results whilst enabling me to move to full frame without major expense apart from the camera body. I have 3 really good c/y Zeiss lenses: Plannar 1.7/50, Plannar 1.4/85, and Vario-Sonnar 3.5/35-70. So after that rather lengthy preamble here are my questions!
    1. What would you recommend as a wide angle lense to complement these. I have been thinking of the FE 2/28 which although focus by wire would give me an AF lense for family photos and some street photography as well as landscape. Or would you recommend that I opt for a manual lens to keep things consistent? Or go for a wider focal length with landscapes in mind?
    2. I have been struggling to find online a c/y adapter that will definitely work with the A7ii as apparently some of the ones being sold may only fit the earlier a7 models, although some comments seem to say that they do fit. Have you experienced this when using/trying the A7ii or can you use all your existing adapters from your a7 with no problem?
    3. If I get good adapters they can be quite expensive. You seem to use an adapter per lens, but I presume it might be acceptable to work the other way around and leave a single good adapter on the camera, at least initially? Or would you recommend rather buying a number of cheaper adapters and shimmying them?
    4. For image stabilisation to work with manual lenses I gather that you have to input the focal length of the lens to the A7ii. Does this mean that I will have to turn IBIS off when using my 35-70? Have you used your Minolta 35-70 yet on a A7ll and if so how did you deal with this?

    Many thanks for your patience and understanding with me and others using your blog, regards, Andy

    1. Yeah I need to apply for the affiliate program but I haven’t yet 😉

      About your questions:
      1) I have recently reviewed the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 and for landscape use I would prefer it over the FE 2/28 which I also own. The FE is nicer for family pictures because it is faster and has better bokeh. Personally I have the luxury of owning a FE 4/16-35 aus well but most often I use a manual 28mm lens. So yeah you probably want to hear a recommendation for just one lens… Personally I would choose the Zeiss 2.8/28 because I enjoy using it so much more.
      2) Some adapters are problematic on the a7ii but usually you can fix them by removing a little screw. I am very happy with my Novoflex adapters but they are pricey and because I don’t own many Zeiss C/Y lenses i use a cheap C/Y adapter which works well enough.
      3) I like to have one adapter per lens because then I don’t need to put the cap on the back of the lens but there is nothing wrong with having just one adapter.
      4) When I use zooms I either deactivate the stabilizer when light levels are sufficient or I adjust the focal length in the camera when I change the focal length.

      Good luck with your adventure, you have some very fine glass there and a a7ii would allow you to use get even better results than in the film days.

  46. Many thanks, Phillip, for your speedy and helpfull response. When you do set up a UK affiliate arrangement, no doubt you will post up the link. If I buy the A7ii in the meantime I’ll make a donation. At the moment, I can’t quite decide between buying now, as there is a UK Sony cashback which brings the body price down to £1,089, or waiting for a couple of months to see if a new announcement (eg an a7iii – wishful thinking!) brings the price down a bit further.

    1. Many thanks for the Distagon 2.8/28 recommendation. I’ve now read your recent review of the lens and it sounds like it would perfectly complement my other lenses and give me a consistent set up and handling for all my shots. For family pictiures, especially the grandkids, I will still have my RX100ii and if I want bokeh then I will have the 1.4/85 and will probably be shooting in a more considered manner anyway. From some quick web searching, it seems like the Distagon may not be so easy to find here so It might take me a few months to track one down. But I can get started with the other lenses meanwhile.
    2. Will it be obvious which little screw needs removing? And which is the cheap c/y adapter you use?

    As to getting better results than my film days, i feel that is the case already, as digital quality has now come so far since my early days disappointments. I have now invested some time in to getting to grips with post-processing my selected images in Lightroom and have been very pleased with the results – and all with my 1-inch sensor camera! So reusing my zeiss glass on a full-frame camera with a similar form size to my old contax 137 quartz should be a real pleasure. Thank you so much again for your encouragement. Regards, Andy

    1. Hi Philip,

      I have now bought my A7ii. Having seen your rcent review of the A7vs A7 ii, I did think again about which to get but in the end decided that for me the image stabilisation would be worth the extra expense, as I like to be able to hand hold a lot of my shots and have found the image stabilisation on my RX100ii very helpful when out between dawn and sunrise or late afternoon walking my dog, and also when taking informal family shots in the evening. I have had the A7ii for some days now and have found the manual focus using the magnification very natural, and the results from my old zeiss c/y lenses to be very crisp. Following your review and advice, I have now bought a zeiss distagon c/y 2.8/28mm which just arrived a few hours ago. It has a beautiful feel to it and is a perfect match for my other lenses. I am delighted with my new set up and to be able to use these lovely old lenses again. Thank you again for your encouragement and for the most helpful information and examples on your blog here. Best regards, Andy

      1. Hi Philip, one further thing. The options for c/y adapters in the UK were limited and the best seemed to be Fotodiox from Amazon uk. To make sure I got the right one that would definitely fit the A7ii, I emailed their technical support in US and had a helpful reply back within 15 minutes which impressed me a lot! They recommended the cheaper one which they called their consumer model rather than their more expensive pro model which they said was sometimes too tight a fit on the newer bodies of the A7ii and A7Rii. I have bought a number of these (£24.64) so that I have one per lens. They seem very well made and a very good fit. I will post the amazon link for them if anyone else is interested. Cheers, Andy

  47. I came across your website a little while ago and really enjoy it. Your photos with the Minolta lenses are wonderful I’m also struck by your willingness in answering questions so here goes mine. I’ve been looking into purchasing a 7II so I can use many of my old lenses because I really don’t enjoy using lenses where the aperature is accessed only through the camera body like on my Oly MD5. I’ve got several old Nikkors – a 35mm F2; 50mm F1.4; 55mm F2.8 Micro; and 105mm F2.5. The 50 and 105 had to be adapted for AI so they go back to the ’60s. I’ve also got a 28mm F2.8 Konica, 50mm Summicron, and 90mm Elmarit, all of which are M mount. The two Leitz lenses are as old as the oldest Nikkors I have. Buying a couple of adapters is not an issue. My question is will all of thes work on the A7II to the point that I don’t need to buy anything else?

      1. Thank you, Phillip. I’ve accumulated this stuff over 40 years and, with the exception of the two early Nikkors, none came into my possession as new. I guess I’ll have to experiment which feels and works best. I appreciate your help and look forward to more of your work.

  48. I recently acquired an A7R after using both an A7 and A7S. I am looking for vintage lenses that will provide enough sharpness, etc. to match the 36MP resolution of the A7R. Any recommendations in both wide and normal lenses appreciated. Zoom as well. {Don’t use tele that much. I mostly do landscapes, rock art and astrophoto.}


    1. Even the Zeiss 4/16-35 doesn’t resolve good enough in the corners to really make use of the 36MP sensor. I was quite happy with the Canon FD 2.8/20 but you really need to stop it down to f/8 or better f/11 for very good results. For Astro it is a poor choice though and I would recommend a Samyang 2.8/14. About any normal lens will be good enough at f/5.6. You might have a look at the Canon 1.4/50. A slightly longer lens is the Tokina 2.5/90 Macro which is excellent.

  49. Hi Phillip
    Thank you so much for all the info and great review . I love your website and photos!
    I m a Chilean photographer and I’m interested in child and family photography with a documentary style. I just changed from canon to a sony alpha 7 II and i m very happy! Olympus 50mm 1.4 lens and 28-70 lens kit sony. I would like to have a 35mm lens and 135mm. but I really do not know, because the Sony lenses are very expensive and manual lenses are cheap and great but do not have af focus… and for child photography is a little hard manual focus…
    Which lens you recommend me?
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Alexa,

      so do you need AF? Then I am probably not much help. The FE 2.8/35 is a good lens for your purpose but quite expensive.

      If I was you I would probably buy an affordable manual lens like the Canon FD 2.8/35 and the FD 2.8/135 for a little more than $100 for both lenses and see how well they work for you. If they work well you have saved a lot of money and if they don’t you just sell them with minimal loss.

  50. I have Leica M lenses for years. I recently bought a Sony A 7 II, with an adapter, to use these lenses. I did not make a lot of pictures so far, but my first impression is disappointment for the quality of the results. I did not get sharp images, like expected.
    I am nearly sure that I did not make good settings, on the camera, but I do not know what.
    If you can teach me some method to improve the results, I would appreciate.
    (pictures are done with Summicron 35 and 50, Elmarit 90, in aperture priority, at 400 iso, and use of focus peaking and/or magnifier. Most of the time, speed is higher the 1/200. I have blurry images in details, like when focus is not correctly set). Thank you

  51. I think I’ve done something fairly stupid but I was hoping someone might be able to confirm that. I’ve purchased a Minolta AF 24mm 2.8 for astrophotography. The EBAY seller listed it as “Minolta AF 24mm 2.8 / Sony A7” – well turns out that it’s an A mount not an E mount. Not a huge problem, except, I can’t figure out that if I buy a standard non electric adapter, whether or not I’ll be able to control the aperture setting? Can anyone help me with that question? So I know I’ll be able to focus the lens manually, but can I set the aperture manually as well?


    1. You should get the Sony LA-EA3 adapter which controls the aperture for you so you or the camera can select the aperture. And don’t expect good astro performance from that lens at f/2.8, f/4 should work okays but for very good results you need to stop it down to f/5.6.

  52. Hi thank for great review,i want to buy a samyang/rokinon 85mm f1.4 for my sony a6000
    waht’s your opinion about this lens for portrait? and in my countery is so hard to find a e mount version,and i think buy a canon mount and use it with adapter,these adapters will reduce T stop and sharpness?
    should i buy e mount?
    thank you,

    1. I think the Samyang is a very nice lens for portrait: Very smooth bokeh and good sharpness from f/1.4. I was less than thrilled by the build quality though and Samyang doesn’t have the best quality control.

      An adapter won’t reduce sharpness or T stop, at worst there will be some play but that only happens with bad adapters

  53. Hi phillip

    Thanks for the great review and beautifull sample photos. Has the Hybrid AF of the A7 any cons to the IQ because of interpolation?

    Thanks and best wishes,


  54. “You have to do everything yourself. You have to think about the aperture and set it manually. ”
    Why do you say this? All the A7 are “saying” that you over or underexpose, aren’t they?

  55. Hi – just curious if you have lens wiggle if so, do you think its a big deal? I considered getting the tough e mount but I’m not sure if it’s just a waste money or if it will effect the vignette when using manual lenses.


  56. Hello! Sorry for the rather late reply but I just found your site and have found it invaluable. Have you ever tried out the OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.4? I have been using that recently on my OM-1 and its surprisingly sharp. It’s only about $60 and has a great build. Maybe it can make it to your top lenses list 🙂


  57. I also found the assignment of Focus Settings (which includes Focus Magnification) to the C1 button awkward to use. I moved this function a couple of times before settling on assigning it to the Down Button of the Control Wheel. Usually the first thing I want to do when I have the orange rectangle on screen is to move it using the Control Wheel. so having the button that switches it on assigned to the Control Wheel means that my thumb can seamlessly start moving the target without having to move around the camera, since it’s already in exactly the right place.

  58. Hello,

    Amazing detailed article that has convinced me to go legacy until I can afford otherwise. I have one questions, how do you, or is it necessary to do lens profile corrections in LR. For example my FE 28 f/2 has terrible distortion but is automatically corrected in LR. Do the Minolta lenses above have similar distortion, and if so how do you correct them?



  59. Hi Phillip,

    some times ago you recommended a converter software for converting Sony arw files to Adobe dng files. I seached for the review with your recommondation but I haven`t found it. Will you plaese be so kind and recommend it again. Thank you very much.

    Sincerely yours

    M. Jäkel

  60. Hello, simple question from a beginner: what is the effect of using an adapter in terms of focal lenght? How is the additional length between glasses and sensor compensated?

    1. It doesn’t have any effect on the focal length. Simply speaking the adapter fills the space which is usually occupied by the mirror in a SLR so that the distance between the lenses and sensor is exactly the same.

  61. Phillip,

    a. Thank you for your work here. You are a godsend!

    b. A question which has withstood much google-research without result: what is the most effective focal length to tell my A7ii IBIS that I am using when I attach a Hasselblad 150mm lens? My “logic” goes this way; 80mm is “normal” for the Hasselblad 60×60 format. 50mm is “normal” for the A7ii 24×36 format. 50 is 62.5% of 80. 62.5% of 150 is slightly less than 93.8mm. I don’t know how to, or even whether to, compensate for the different aspect ratios of the two formats. So far, I just set the IBIS to 90mm and shoot. Seems to work pretty well. But I wish someone smart would tell me if I am leaving any sharpness on the table with this setting “logic”. Thank you. Best wishes from Texas. PS I am very fond of using this lens. I just bought an 80mm, set to arrive late next week. I’m imagining setting its focal length for the IBIS to 50mm. Thoughts?

    1. Hi,
      how do you attach die Hasselblad monster lenses to the Sony A7ii with its near grip? Could you post a picture, tx!

  62. Thank you! You are the first person to say anything in response to my question other than, “I don’t know, but that’s an interesting question”! “180” (actually 150) it is for me from now onwards. Thanks, again!

  63. Hi and thank you fot your hints.
    My question is how the view finder correction wheel (for people needing glasses or “optically challenged”) is disturbing the result of the search for sharpness. Is what I see what I get..? Tx for that!

  64. Thanks , I’ve recently been searching for information about this
    topic for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered till now.
    But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain in regards to the supply?

  65. Hi Phillip,
    Love the pictures and thanks for outlining the main issues with manual lenses. I’ve been using an EOS-M but really need a viewfinder and I’m looking out for a used NEX-6. I like the idea of using my early 80s Pentax ME Super 50mm lens, (and borrowing my Dad’s collection of PK lenses) especially as PK to E mount adapters are under a tenner on Amazon. I’ve read adapter descriptions that say ‘doesn’t transmit aperture information’. Does aperture priority work with a manual lens? Or can the camera just read light levels off the sensor anyway, and is that reliable? Or perhaps I need a better/more expensive adapter? Might be worth adding a line or two to clarify apertures/adapters in the main article. Many thanks

  66. My first and only foray into legacy manual glass is the lieca r 135mm f2.8, and i like the rendering quite a bit. I’m primarily a portrait photographer, and so sharpness isnt a huge concern for me. So im looking for some portrait glass on the shorter end, 75-100. From the research ive done, quality wide aperture legacy glass + cost of novaflex adapter runs only a bit cheaper than new glass. My ideal setup would be loxia 85 2.4 for small and lightweight handheld shots and milvus 135 f2 for tripod work. But that combo is about 3800 with adapter.

    Any recommendations for comparable quality in legacy glass – at less than 500 per lens?

    1. And might be overkill – i shoot primarily with a7s so colossal amounts of detail is not what im after. I do have an a7 and 70-200 fe f4 if i want super sharp and detailed. What im looking for lovely rendering and glow.

  67. One reason to buy the Alpha 7 II has been that I did want to be able to continue to use my old Zeiss Manual lenses with Contax/Yashica Mount.

    I recently tested the Zeiss 2.0/100mm and only can say I love that a lot. It’s sharpness and color fidelity are very good.

    Now I also start to understand why this old lense fetches today being a used lense almost the same as when I bought it as a new lense.

  68. Thanks for all this info! It’s great. But the one question I came here for wasn’t addressed. At least not that I saw anyway. What program mode do you use when using these lenses? Obviously you have to control the focusing and the aperture manually, but how do you set the camera settings for the best result? Or any result? Obviously will differ from camera to camera, but do you select M (full manual) or something else?


      1. Thanks. And sorry if I sounded blunt and critical — I just reread my question and it didn’t come across the way I intended. 🙂

        Since I posted that a couple days ago, I now have some experience with this and yes, aperture priority the way to go. Sometimes M, but mostly A, yup.

        Getting gorgeous results so far using a nothing-fancy Minolta Maxxum AF 50mm f/1.7 and the Maxxum 35-105mm on my Sony a5000.


  69. Hello Phillip,
    without probably having read every entry in every category, have you also looked at tele zoom lenses? Especially one lens “from my youth” always seemed like the dream lens to me, the Vivitar Series 1 70-210. There are several versions of this lens, a very good description can be found here:
    Have you heard of this lens, or ever owned or used one? Are they as good as their reputation (especially “Version 3” from Komine)? The nice thing about using them with an A7 is that you do not depend on a specific mount, but can use any available, right?
    I love the blog, if I had the money I would go and buy an A7 II tomorrow 🙂

  70. Phillip,

    Apologies in advance for this long winded post. I wrote it as an article, and now I am looking for people who are knowledgable on the subject to lend some advice. If you could help me, I would be very grateful!

    The new Sony A7rII firmware (v 3.30) killed my workflow!

    I do a large variety of different types of photography. Different situations present challenges and opportunities to use equipment in creative ways. A flexible system is very valuable in these moments! One of the great benefits of the Sony A7 / FE system is its flexibility. The most recent firmware has crippled some important functionality for me. I hope there’s a way to restore it!

    The specific moment and type of photography in question is close range, social/cocktail party style photography in dimly lit spaces. I focus on a documentary approach, and look for emotion and reactions amongst the people to capture. There’s no time for slow, low light auto focus – I have to mingle and pop the shutter on an instinctual basis with very little prep time in each scene.

    My method goes back to the days before digital. I learned this technique from my first photographic boss, and mentor, Steven Gross of real life weddings in Chicago. His method was to use a Leica M6 in his right hand, and in his left hand a Vivitar 283 flash with a wide angle diffuser connected to the camera via long cable. He would then focus using the distance scale on the lens, set it to approximately 1 meter, the lens at f/8, the shutter dragged a bit, and the Vivitar set to an automatic mode for proper flash outlet. The photographer mingles amongst the crowd with camera close to the chest and flash nonchalantly held in the left-hand. At the decisive moment the left-hand brings the flash up and to the left angling down towards the subject at 45°, the camera goes to the eye, and the shutter is depressed 2 to 3 times. The whole exercise takes just a few seconds – it’s like a little karate move!

    When done properly, this technique yields exceptional results. When I was working for Steven, I quickly invested in a Leica M6, Vivitar 283, and learned this technique well.

    Links to 2 recent photos using this method:

    Fast forward to the first days of digital and this technique became more challenging. For starters there weren’t any professional digital cameras anywhere near the size and weight of a Leica M6, so holding the camera in one hand for an extended party became difficult. I’ve used this technique with a Canon 5D and a hand strap, and a flash connected via radio slave. I’ve also used it with my digital Leica M cameras, with flash both wired and wireless.

    Fast forward to today, where I am invested in the Sony A7rII system, and this technique gets a new fresh breath of air in feasibility and outcome! The Sony body is lightweight, and the lens choice almost infinite.

    when I switched to Sony, I looked heavily into the available flash options. I needed a flash with built in radio receiver – no reason to have a radio slave receiver attached to a flash anymore – all I want is a transmitter on the camera and the receiver built into the flash. The Phottix Odin transmitter system along with the Phottix Mitros + flash rose to the occasion. I own four of these flashes and two of the transmitters. Not only do I use this system in the way I’ve described in this letter, but I also use it as a location lighting kit when I don’t need very high output. I essentially have four heads and can use them with any number of light modifiers.

    My general recipe for exposure with this system in the Steven Gross style party photography is to set the camera at approximately ISO 3200, the shutter at approximately 1/30th of a second, the lens at f/8, manually focus the lens to 1 m, set the viewfinder to ignore exposure and show me a bright image, and I get to work! The Phottix flash is set to TTL, and I get great results.

    One challenge with the Sony FE body and Lens is the small time delay, even in manual focus, when during exposure, the camera stops the lens down to take the exposure. Despite this being brief, it is not instant, and it slows me down. This led me to experimenting with different lenses.

    I recently shot a wedding, and when I used this technique, I used a rented, manual focus Zeiss Loxia 35mm lens. Being a manual lens, it didn’t need to stop down to the taking aperture, it stayed in f/8. This meant that my shooting technique could be at it’s maximum efficiency and preserve total spontaneity. Woo hoo!

    The downside is, I prefer 28mm for this method. 35mm works, and the Loxia is lovely, but 28mm gives me a bit more depth of field, and a bit more field of view. I looked into adapting a Leica M lens (or m mount lens) to the Sony, but the rangefinder wide angles are not a great fit with the Sony A7 series. I then started recently experimenting with older manual focus SLR lenses. Most decent 28mm manual focus lenses are going to perform well at f/8, even if they are aging designs.

    I first tried a Nikon AIS 28mm lens with Novoflex adapter. The technique worked brilliantly with the Sony and the Phottix, but in the end, I wasn’t blown away by the lens. Research led me to an obscure-ish lens made by Pentax – an f/3.5 version of one of their 28mm lenses. At f/11, this lens is outstanding. I bought it, and an adapter, and took it to work yesterday.

    As is my habit, I tested the gear, and I had noticed that my method was hobbled. The flash exposures were not working at all. Either they didn’t sync or they were blown out. What the hell??!!

    Enter Firmware 3.30. I was using 3.10 for a long while, and remembered to upgrade last week. 3.30 rewrites some of the code governing flash control as Sony now has a radio transmitter (but still no flash with a built in receiver).

    So now, oddly enough, when I use an adapted manual focus lens, I can no longer use the technique that I have been using for many years with great result. It does seems to work with a native FE lens, but that little delay every time I squeeze the shutter kills me. I am not sure why this would matter anyway. TTL metering uses a sensor to measure light – it shouldn’t need to know what aperture the lens is at. Anyway, I am quite sad about this – especially as I just spent a ton of time researching, buying, and selling lenses and adapters to use in this method!

    I spoke to Sony and Phottix. Sony was completely unhelpful. So sad that they are moving up in the ranks of competition with Canon & Nikon, yet their pro service is lacking in a huge way. I asked for the installer for the 3.10 firmware. They refused and made excuses. Sorry, you can’t have it. Give me a break.

    So now I have a Pentax lens that seems really promising, and I can’t use it. I wasted a ton of time, and most of all, I can no longer shoot in the way that I found to work so well.

    Any advice on how I can find a solution here?

    1. The Nikon is a DSLR, the Sony a mirrorless.
      Shooting manual lenses on the Sony is a very different process than shooting AF lenses on the Nikon. I prefer it, others don’t.

    2. I shot with a very similar setup until recently (Nikon D600 and Sony a7). A few observations:

      Due to its long flange distance, the Nikon will only accept Nikon F-Mount lenses. On the Sony, you can use just about any lens with the right adapter.

      With the Nikon, you can enter manual lens data into the camera to get partial EXIF data (focal length and aperture). Very few adapters (the Techart pro is the only one I’m aware of) allow this on the Sony, and even then it’s very fiddly process.

      When shooting handheld, focusing precision is limited with the Nikon because of the optical viewfinder. When shooting fast lenses wide open, I almost never managed to hit correct focus with the Nikon. Your mileage may vary, of course. A huge advantage for the Sony. On a tripod, where you can use live view, the Nikon works fine.

      Image Stabilization – only Sony has it. On the other hand, the Nikon body is much more comfortable to hold and also heavier, so I found that it does not need stabilization as much as the Sony does. Still, a clear advantage for the Sony.

      Electronic first curtain shutter (EFCS) – only Sony has it. I found the effects of the first curtain to be easily visible in the Nikon when using longer lenses with a tripod mount. May not be relevant for you, but if it affects you, there’s no workaround except to buy a D810.

      About the better DXO Score: true – even though the Sensor is basically identical, the Nikon has the edge in electronics and about one stop better dynamic range, even if you use uncompressed raws on the Sony. As mentioned, I used both cameras in parallel for over a year, I do like to pull shadows up quite a lot (one-shot HDR), and still never saw a relevant difference. Even though I only had the a7 with its compressed raws. But I often got much better sharpness because of precise focusing and EFCS – see above.

      On little tidbit that is completely irrelevant in practice, but can affect shots of test patterns, so be careful when analyzing these. Both of these cameras have an anti-alias filter that works only in one direction: Vertical on the Nikon but horizontal on the Sony. Most easily visible on siemens stars. So if a test scene contains only feature in one orientation, it will unfairly favor one of the cameras (vertical patterns are sharper on the Nikon, and horizontal ones are sharper on the Sony).

      Since I prefer MF lenses, I recently sold my Nikon and switched over to Sony.

  71. Hello Phillip,

    This is a really great guide as usual. For the sake of debating there’s a couple thing I don’t agree 100%:
    1) “situations were AF is superior” are actually more common then depicted here: kids, sports, street with movement, wedding with movement etc…
    2) “the image stabilizer is overestimated by most”. It really depends on what you shoot: sur you can boost the speed to avoid blur but if your camera is not a god of high iso you will run out of margin fast especially for: a) long lens b) low light shooting.

    So sure if you shoot landscape & slow moving objects with short focal lenght no problem for 1 & 2. But if you do everything like me…AF and stabilization is a saver sometimes…

    That’s it for the debate part…I agree 100% for the rest.
    Like me you must have started manual lens a long time ago and see the price of those lens increase dramatically, because it s becoming super trendy! Sometimes I see like minolta 85mm f1.7 or 2 going for 3/400€ when a good canon 85 f1.8 goes for 200€. Personnally I use a la ea4 (and manual lens) and I have made great deals on amazing minolta af lens because people have left them for zeiss/leica/voig manual or FE lens so I can’t complain!!!

    1. Hi Steph,
      I have shot a wedding with manual lenses and my friends were very happy with the results as well as kids. There is no debate that it is less convenient and one will probably miss some images but I wanted to make it clear that it can be done and you won’t be limited to shooting rocks with your manual lenses.

      Again, I am not saying that it is useless but those two stops rarely make the difference between a good and a lost picture. Sometimes they absolutely do though!

      I started about 5 years ago with manual lenses and some lenses I bough back the cost twice as much today.

  72. Don’t know if this is useful for other manual focus shooters, but I found a way to increase my manual focusing accuracy – especially in bright sunshine conditions which cause the viewfinder to go unpleasantly dark.

    Since focus peaking to me is way too unreliable, I prefer to use the manual focus aid under CF1. In bright sunlight, however, it is often difficult to judge the sharpness of the viewfinder image. This can be resolved by:
    1. Focusing with closed aperture (in bright sunlight, I usually shoot A mode). Note: live view is on, so the viewfinder shows the final image.
    2. In order to pinpoint my focus, I then push CF1, bringing up the focus aid rectangle. If necessary, I move this to the area in my image I want to focus on.
    3. To brighten my viewfinder image subsequently, I open my aperture . I have found that the live view effect does not work when the focus aid is activated, so my dark viewfinder image brightens substantially.
    Of course, this works best with the old fashioned preset aperture lenses, but I can follow the same procedure with my FD and Minolta glass.
    4. Bringing up enlargement , I can focus fairly well – also thanks to the fact that I can regulate my viewfinder brightness by allowing more or less light to enter through my aperture. An additional advantage is that I focus wide open, thus placing my focus point halfway in my depth of field.
    5. Once focus is established, i switch off the focus aid and dial in the final aperture and exposure, using the histogram in my viewfinder.

    Obviously, this is not a focusing process for quick action shots, but when accurate focus on a specific point is desired it works fine – for me, at least.

  73. Hi, nice post. Thank you .-)
    Focusing: “A third method”.
    This is true for your camera´s EVF but also for any camera´s back screen, using LiveView (+ magnification) to focus?

  74. The EVF is 0,5inch with 2.359.296 pixel.
    If you use the LCD sreen, it is impossible to see details during a sunny day. Resolution of the LCD is 921.600 pixel at 3inch. If you try under optimal circumstances to focus exactly it is not possible. Later versions will probably (hopefully) improove these two screens (higher resolution and better dynamic range).

  75. Thanks. Your camera´s EVF is better than my screen, indeed.
    My 5DIII rear screen is 1044 dots (348 pixels). Its hard sometimes to focus with manual lens (I use a few); I know. I wish I have the Leica SL EVF for critical focus.

  76. At least with SONY’s APS-C bodies, you can’t lose on this track. So much great glass out there for a pittance.

    Just copped a clean, used a6000 body this week on Adorama, so I’m officially in the club. Already have several E>A manual adapters and plenty of vintage glass to work with before I get an LA-EA4 for the AF lenses.

    Made the decision to carry a camera every day now with one fortunate manual lens – got enough or ’em for a different one each day. The a6000 will be a treat to play with – great features and controls.

    Thanks for the constant prodding, Phillip. We need someone like to keep us from noddng off…

  77. Hi Philip
    Been following your post and fantastic pictures since before I got my (now broken) A6000. Seeing as I am in the market for a new body I am considering the A6500 for it IBIS with manual lenses. The reason I’m looking at ibis is for use with longer lenses ie 200/300mm for shooting windsurfers/surfers.
    Any idea how effective the ibis would be while in magnified mode while hand held trying to focus. With the A6000 just trying to keep subject in frame was difficult
    I don’t do a lot of this type of shooting to justify the likes of the Sigma 150-600mm or the shorter more expensive sony lenses, but like the challenge

    Ever try anything like this ?
    Some examples of my attempts on the website link with varying lengths between 100/200mm F4/5.6

      1. Hi, Phillip. Having acquired a lightly used and LN A7 II this week (I’m pretty jazzed by this one!)… and coming back into the A7 camera fold, this time with IBIS, I am suddenly interested in the Canon EF 200mm f.4.0 L zooms, which I’ve looked into thoroughly (I also have a Canon M3/EVF APS-C mirrorless body).

        Taking account of your answer above, would you still give the same advice when the body in question is the FF A7 II? It’s my understanding that the IBIS performance in this first generation system for FF sensor falls considerably short of Sony’s marketing claims. The lens stabilized version of the f.4.0 Canon L is, of course, easy to acquire, too; but I prefer to focus my resources first on prime lenses which will be useable with the Leitax bayonet exchange adapters or the like on a Pentax K-1, which I anticipate acquiring at some opportune time down the road. Canon EF lenses will do me no good there.

        Thanks for your advice, Phillip. Either Canon is an excellent buy secondhand here in the U.S. with lots to choose from, and one of those can always be sold on without much trouble or economic pain.

    1. David, if you want my humble opinion for shooting fast sports on 200mm + on apsc (a6xxx):
      1) Manual focus will make you miss a lot of shots, trust me. I do those kind of shooting and you want to be in sport mode or equivalent with high frame rate and high autofocus speed. A Tamron 70-300 usd is not expensive and can give you great results
      2) Sony is not the best in terms of good quality for price. Sigma tamron definitely better but you will need to go la eax adapter or sigma mc11 as mentionned by phil. A lot of people think Canon and nikon make more sense for that specific use.
      3) you will need at least a monopod (or a tripod), especially if the sun is not fully out…The ibis is thus less important. be carefull

  78. Hi Phillip,
    I noticed you snuck a shot with the Tamron 54B in this article. Can we expect a review of that lens? I adore it and put up with it’s flaws because of it’s very small size for a 300mm.

    Another adaptall stand out is the 151B, which is a tiny 17mm.

    Also, the 19AH which is not small at all, but an outstanding performing 70-210 zoom, and I end up lugging it around more often than not.

    Some of the old adaptall SP lenses are really quite good and I was very excited to see that great shot with one. Not many people realize you can forgo the weird springy adaptall adapters and get direct e mount adapters.

  79. In your post, you give a few hints about focusing manually. But with those lenses, everything is manual. How hard is it to adjust correctly and manually the speed of the shot? And do you need an external ightmeter?

  80. Hi Philip,

    I have bunch of Legacy Minolta MF Lenses and trying to use them on Sony A6000.

    50MM F1.4 matches well with Camera. I am having issues with a MD 16mm F2.8 Fisheye. I am finding strong blue color cast in all images. Please advise me if there is a workaround for this in Camera Settings. I had been using AWB , Shade and Daylight WB. Thank you.

  81. Hi Phillip,
    Regarding the “shimmering” of the subject’s texture as a focusing aid, it is quite useful and thank you for the tip. Unfortunately I see it only at certain distances and focus magnifications. It is not a defect, but a moiré effect due to the resolution of the EVF. Try rotating the camera for increased effect when the texture does not align with the rake of the EVF.
    On another note, I have both a Novoflex and a Metabones adaptor for my Leica R lenses. Both are very good quality, the Metabones is heavier, chrome-plated at both ends, has tight tolerances and is stiffer to turn. The Novoflex is butter-smooth, but the setting screw for the optional tripod collar prevents the fingers from gripping the a7R II, IMO a waste of money, whereas the Metabones tripod support is very unobtrusive and I don’t worry about the weight of the lenses. However, if I look at the rear element of the lenses with the collars mounted on them, with the Metabones I can clearly see the cams of the lenses and part of the front chromed mounting ring. With the Novoflex, I can only see the cams and a tiny sliver of the mounting ring. So far I have seen no evidence of reflections from either adaptor.

  82. Thank you, Philip for the ideas! Can you please recommend a cheap macro lens, for my a6000? I need it taking photos to some handmade products made by my wife.

  83. Thanks for a great write up! The main reason I bought the Sony a7ii is the full frame and great flexibility. I own a series of Nikkor non Ai , Ais and D lenses. I usually set to ASA auto and shoot wide open, and the pictures are simply awesome (compared with film or Nikon earlier DSLR).

    Here are some problems I encountered and if you can help will be great:

    1. If I set ASA to manual at ASA100, the view finder can become very dim at low light even the lens is fully open for F2 or F1.4 large aperture lens. There is no auto stop down so if I set to F8 then the view finder is totally dark. Of course , if set to ASA auto this problem will go away. Is there a way to set the view finder to remain visible at low light when setting ASA to manual at low settings?

    2. Manual flash is a night mare. I set the a7ii at manual M for ASA 100, 1/125 lens at F4, and set the off camera flash (SB22) to Auto mode F4. The picture always turn out washed out. I have to set flash comp at -3 stops, on top of exposure at -3 steps… still a hit and miss. When doing this with Nikon DSRL at exactly same setting, no problem. Is there some settings I have overlooked? Thank you so much!!

    1. 1. If you use A-mode this shouldn’t happen. But you can set Setting Effect to off which will deactivate exposure preview.
      2. No idea, I very rarely use flash and when I do my old Metz usually works fine.

  84. Hello,
    Thank you very much for a great post. I am currently considering selling my canon 70d and purchasing sony a7 ii since i always wanted to upgrade to full frame. I shoot film as well and I own numerous manual nikon lenses such as 35mm f2 50mm f2 85mm f2 (planning on purchashing more). Do you think it would be okay to use only manual nikon lenses with sony a7 ii? I love manual lenses and I am on a budget so I thought this would be a good idea share my old nikon manual lenses with sony a7 ii and not buy and modern lenses.
    Thank you

      1. Thank you for the prompt reply. I think I will be switching to Sony thanks to your recommendation. But I have a few questions. It would be greatly appreciated if you would answer these questions.
        1. How good are old nikkor ai, ais manual lenses compared to olypus zuiko, minolta or canon fd lenses?

        2.I have noticed in your post that you mainly use minolta and canon lenses. Is there a reason for the preference? Is it because they are superior than the nikon lenses?

        3.Can I just keep one adapter mounted on the sony body and just mount nikon lenses on and off instead of having an adapter for every lens?

        4.When shooting in aperture priority mode with manual lenses, is it possible to set aperture on the lens and have a fixed ISO and let the camera choose to shutter speed for the correct exposure?

        5.When looking through the viewfinder, is it always bright even when the aperture is stopped down to f22?

        I understand that these are a lot of questions and I value your time, so it is okay even you can’t answer these questions.

        Thank you

        1. 1. They play in the same league
          2. No, but usually cheaper
          3. Yes
          4. Yes
          5. The EVF works different than an optixal viewfinder. The aperture will be closed all the time but as long as you have suffient light the image will be bright. At f/22 it will be very dark for artificially lit scenes but brigth on a sunny day outside.

  85. While on vacation, besides the outdoor shots, I can often only take hand-held no-flash shots inside museums, cathedrals, etc. in low light situations. My old Minolta XE-7 with its MC 50mm 1.4 lens was great as was the MC 28mm 2.8 lens. I like my Pentax K-10, but it’s bulky for carrying all day, especially with extra lenses. So I’m thinking of going to a Sony a6000 or a6300 with the kit lenses, but they aren’t well suited for the interior shots and a fast f1.4 lens is probably too expensive. I think using my Minolta 50 mm 1.4 lens indoors could be a reasonable solution. As I understand it, using my legacy Minolta 50mm lens with an e-mount adapter on the Sony would be about the same as using a 75mm lens on my old XE-7 because of the difference between film full-frame vs the Sony sensor size. But I’ve never seen any mention if there is any correction for the lens aperature. Does my MInolta f1.4 lens from my XE-7 still function as a f1.4 when mounted to an adapter and the Sony a6000/a6300 camera? Or does the f1.4 function as a different aperature when mounted to the Sony? If so, what is the correction factor?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Mike,

      if you set your Sony a6000 to ISO 100 and use the MC 1.4/50 @ f/1.4 you will get the same exposure times as you would get with the XE-7 and a ISO 100 film.

      Depth of field with the MC 1.4/50 will be similar to a 2/75

  86. Thanks for the great review. I have the A77ii and I am now buying a used A7R for architectural photography and a Nikon
    and Minolta adapter for starters. Your review did not mention anything about aperture control. I can’t find any adapters with manual aperture and some lenses don’s have manual aperture. There are some newer Nikon AF lenses that seem to have a manual aperture override? Any advice?
    PS: the Minolta 80-200mm f2.8 HS is fantastic as well. Unfortunately I was one of the first to review it on Youtube and now the prices have climbed a lot especially with the surprise A99ii arrival.

    1. Almost any manual lens has an aperture ring. Many modern lenses control the aperture through the camera.

      So for which mount and which lenses do you need an adapter? If it is Nikon G lenses, check out this guide:

  87. Thanks for writing the great article. You really nailed home the points on mirrorless + manual lenses. (This seems far too often overlooked.)

    A shoe mounted Mitros+ will not work in M or TTL modes with a Sony a6000 with a manual lens attached. By any chance, do the a7s have problems with manual lenses and flashes?

  88. Hi Phillip (and sorry for my bad english),
    I’m about to buy a A7rii and 2 primes : a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 III and a Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 (thanks to Bastian :-)), as I want to discover the magical (but compelling) world of prime lenses. I’ll probably buy also a Techartpro adapter. I already own an APS-C Canon 70D with zooms only. One of them is a Tamron 70-300mm f/4-6.5 and I would like to know your advice about which lens to go, knowing that I travel a lot (Voigtlander primes are quite light), I like landscapes very much, and sometimes a 70 to 300mm range can be very useful (I remember nice close-ups of puffins in Iceland). I could buy an adapter for my Tamron lens, or buy a Sony 24-240 or the more expensive (and heavy) 70-300. I could also stay wise and go for the Minolta MD 100mm 2.5 that I discovered by reading this fantastic topic (or the 135mm 2.8), and then crop some images if I need to. What do you think ? I am only absolutely sure about one thing : I want to travel “light” (next trip will mix a 9 days trek + a road trip in Ladakh).
    Thank you in advance,

    1. Hmm, I would call none of the options you mentioned light apart from the Minolta MD 2.5/100 and personally I usually get along just fine with just the MD as my travel tele. Maybe check out my Madeira travel report to get and impression. To be honest there are very few attractive and light tele primes. The CV 4/180 Bastian reviewed recently is one of them but very expensive and rare.

  89. Thank you for your advices,Phillip, I’ll go with the MD 2.5/100 for my next trip. And I’ll see if I miss a tele prime. Anyway, right now I can’t imagine traveling to remote areas with several big and heavy lenses, especially with an A7. The only flaw is the ridiculous battery life of the A7 (I’ll bring 4 or 5 of them with me…).

  90. Thanks a lot for the article. I’m currently using an Olympus OM 135mm f3.5 lens (cost £15 from a charity shop) on a trip to Morocco. I have a Sony 70-200 f4, but I dropped it and it’s no longer sharp (a day may come when I can think about this without swearing a lot, but don’t hold your breath). However I think the old OM lens is actually sharper than the Sony zoom was before it became damaged. Also, as I have an A7 and an A6000, I also get some variation of telephoto capability.

    Based on what you’ve said, I’m looking into getting a Minolta 35-70.

    1. I have both the Sony 4/70-200 and the OM 135; at least with my copies the Sony zoom is best at around 135mm and at that focal length at least as sharp as the OM, with much greater contrast and much less axial CA (which is a real downside of the little OM). I wonder if Sony will service your zoom? It likely depends where you live whether Sony service is good.

  91. Thanks for the article. Now, it would be a great pleasure to me to read progressed guides. Maybe an interessting topic is the use of the Sony App “Lenscompensation”.
    There is a manual but there are no reference or example how to
    determine the numerical value.


  92. I tried to understand your third method to shoot manually with sharp image. You mention shimmering pixel, but could you elaborate?

  93. Hi Phillip and team

    Thanks for creating a wonderful blog covering variety of manual focus lenses.

    Are these lenses specifically for Sony a7 series or they work well on Olympus or Panasonic micro 4/3rd mirrorless cameras as well?

  94. Hi, Philip!
    I´d like to know if in the pictures you show in your articles you use an APSC sensor, because a 50mm lens will become a 75mm , for instance, or in the other hand, a 50 mm is a real 50 mm.
    I use a mirrorles Fujifilm camera with an APSC sensor and I Know nothing about Sony A7…
    Thank you so much!

  95. Man! You know how to write an article and entertain and educate reader at the same time and Not BORE at all.
    The minimal use of words and yet provide all details, examples, situations and experience.

    You have given me one more reason to buy A7 M2 and removed the hurdle of that stuck me to purchase it with just kit lense. And rent expensive Sony Zoom. Now I can start with these manual ones first.

    The only issue is we don’t get such lenses in good condition and easily available in India.

    *But manual lenses would not be good for kids photography as focusing is manual.

  96. Wow this is really cool to read and see. I don’t have experience with older manual lenses or anything, but I’ve been using my 24mm TS-E on my A7ii and it’s all manual. I’m going to have to test it out with fabric to look for this shimmering you mention but most of my work is on a tripod and I have the time to make use of focus magnification and peaking. Since using it, I’ve actually enjoyed manual focus. I still come away praying frames are in focus though. Ha

  97. Phillip, in the following sentence you implied that the a7rII might be the best choice for i.e. Leica lenses and referred to further information within the linked article. However within this article I couldn’t find any further hint on what the reason could be.

    Can you tell the reasons?

    „ If you intend to adapt rangefinder lenses (like Leica-M or Contax-G) this camera alongside the A7s(II) is your best bet, take a look at this article for further information.“

    1. The Sony a7rII has a BSI sensor which reduces vignetting and color-shift which is stronger in the a7r/a7/a7ii. All E-mount cameras have a very similar/the same filter stack which causes field curvature which is discussed in the linked article.

  98. Thanks Phillip! I got the topic with the curved filter stack before, but I didn’t find the mention of the less vignetting and color shift of the 42MP sensor, so thanks.

    Three questions remain and I’d be glad if you can answer again:

    I read of some disadvantages of the 42MP sensor (against a 24MP) in combination with older lenses, namely higher sensitivity to camera shake and higher sensibility to see different errors of the lenses on pictures…both due to the higher pixel count. Do you think these disadvantages are outweighed by the advantages of the 42MP sensor you mentioned?

    Does the 42MP BSI sensor have the same advantages it has against the A7II also have against the stacked A9 sensor with i.e. Leica lenses?

    Do you think the BSI Sensor, due to its higher resolution has advantages (except allowing bigger prints) in terms of resolution and sharpness against the 24MP of A7II and A9 although the old Leica lenses probably don’t really support those high resolutions than 24MP?

    In my case I speak of the Leica lenses Summilux 35 1.4 (non ASPH), Noctilux 50 1.0, Tele Elmarit M 90 2.8, APO-Telyt M 135 2.8 just in case you have experience with some of them.

    Answers to these questions would be very much appreciated, as I’m just thinking of buying the A7RIII or waiting for the A7III. Inline to be able to print big, but that’s not the main aspect in case of noticeable disadvantages of the big sensor.

    1. Sure, the limits of your lenses become more obvious with 42MP but that doesn’t make your images any worse compared to the 24MP sensor. When both printed at the same size the 42MP file will be at least as good, often better than the 24 MP file. The 42Mp sensor is also quite abit better at higher iso. The only distadvantage of the 42MP sensor I see is that it requires more disk space and processing power.

  99. Thanks, so it seems the A9 sensor is on the same lower level as the A7II‘s compared to the BSI in this reagard and the stories about how meaningless or even disadvangeous that bigger pixel count is compared to a 24MP sensor (due to very few lenses which support such a higher pixel number) doesn’t have a real foundation.

  100. Another question:

    Is it correct that an A mount APS-C Lens shot on an A7RII in crop mode (18MP) has at least as good IQ as the same lens shot on an A or E mount APS-C camera as the A77II or A6500 with 24MP?

    1. Well here it gets more complicated but if we only look at sharpness the 24MP a77ii/a6500 image will always be as good or better than the a7rii 18MP image since it has a higher resolution.

      1. I guess except resolution, the cropped A7RII combination would have the same IQ as with the full frame, as it uses the sample sensor, even same pixel size, just with lesser pixels, correct?

          1. That’s for shure yes, but the other advantages of the BSI sensor against the 24MP sensor (except the higher resolution) remain.

            So except of the slightly lower resolution, it should have better IQ, wrong?

          2. BSI is 99% marketing bla and 1% actual gain, except for rangefinder wide angle lenses towards the borders, but you would be cropping out those corners anyway in your scenario.

  101. Hey Phillip,

    quick question regarding the sharpness +3 tip – will it always work do I have to set the “Live View Display – Setting Effect” to “ON”?


  102. Damn, that’s one great trick with the shimmering pixels in the EVF!!

    But… one thing you didn’t mention there in connection with that (maybe because you feel like “Duh…”) is that when you do focus like that, I find it’s fastest to focus just about right and then move my head slightly back/forth to get it to just the perfect point. Much easier to fine-tune compared to finicky finger movements.
    (Which also really helped me during a concert shoot with a manual lens the other day… I used focus assist though. Still… you’d go nuts chasing the focus with the focus wheel as the musician slightly moves…)

  103. Excellent update as usual. Thanks.
    Agonising between A7ii and A7 rii now that gap is down to less than 700 € (on ebay) because of A7riii.
    Other review on artaphot showed some difference between the 2 cameras using vintage lenses such as 35mm 2.8 Minolta.
    And in terms of taking pictures with low luminosity, is there a difference between the 2 cameras?

    1. The 7rII has slightly better performance at high ISO than the 7II. Slightly better lowlight focus too. But 700 euro worth? Only you can decide! If you don’t want the better resolution and other features of the rII I’m not sure I would pay that difference just for these differences. They are real, but small.

  104. Ey Phillip

    Great post as always. It would be super cool it you made a post about how you have your camera set up (which custom functions you have assigned for the different buttoms), etc.

  105. David BM,
    Given your article on A7riii, it seems the best option may be to wait for A7iii hoping it will get the same improvement in manual focusing (EVF. viewfinder). I will probably wait and see as I use manual lenses (on a A6000)

    1. As Phillip says, who knows if they will keep the fancy EVF on an A7III
      The other possibility which makes sense given how Sony goes is that the A7rII will stay as the new mid range camera, pushing A7II down to replace A7. And no A7III. Pure speculation, but Sony often seems these days to not make new cheaper models, but rather use older models in those price brackets.

  106. Hi Phillip (& all other contributers on this great info on MF photography),

    In your artical your write: “The Sony Alpha 7s is a specialist. It can be an exceptional tool if you are into video or do lots of high ISO work but for most users its 12 MP sensor will bring more disadvantages than advantages.”

    Last 3 years I have had very positive experience with shooting photo’s with the Sony A7s 1gen camera. Number one: it’s silent shooting mode. Being able to caputure almost any lightcondition, in a stealty silent style is just great! Number two: Its small size: It is one of the smallest FF camera available. Using it with the compact vintage MF-glass makes it lowkey-powerhouse in IQ. Is streetphotography a ‘speciality’?
    Yes, in 2017 ‘only’ 12MP seems very limiting compared to 42MP A7RIII. I print A2-size no problem (-: Still no plans of upgrading my camera. Lenses are a much better investment.

    I look forward to your further writing here.
    Greetings from Holland

  107. I work for a Broadcast OB Van company in Bielefeld (Grüße! 🙂 and I was quite disappointed how bad focus peaking is even in modern cameras (stills and video) compared to broadcast viewfinders from Sony. I don’t really know why, but apparently it is a very hard/expensive thing to do right.
    But then on the other side, why not implement a very fine peaking with your line skip focus trick. The camera should easily detect the Moirè effect and then highlight only this pixels.
    I guess in 5-10 years this problem will be solved 😉

  108. Phillip,
    I recall your posts from over at Thank you SO much for this article, found while considering whether to buy a used A7R ii to fit my Minolta and Olympus OM lenses to. I am convinced now that the recommendations you make here will make this a practical shooting experience.

    Again, thank you and best wishes for the festive season.

    1. Didn’t know you were an OM user of old, Kit! That was what I was using back when I was learning posture and flexibility from you!

  109. @David B-M: I have been a commercial photographer on and off since I was about 19… two Nikon F Photomic head bodies and lenses (and the massive Pentax 67 camera; another story)—and much like µ4/3rds today, had the extraordinary OM1 with a few lenses for personal work (all the while being a television and film director…). My main focus was available light and dance/theatre work in Sydney in the 80s, and I shot dress rehearsals, so the shutter noise was no problem. But yes, been around the block a few times in that regard. I don’t want to get OT here, so will leave that for when we can catch up in person!

  110. Hi Phillip,
    Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to share your experience using legacy glass on Sony’s fantastic Alpha bodies.
    I sold my A7 a couple months ago, after 3 years, and upgraded to an A7RM2.
    I had loved my A7 and it had totally changed the way I shoot (from the old, and mediocre, days of mirror filled Nikons), but I was going to Thailand and thought some of the perks of the RM2 would be useful. especially the 42mp.
    I wanted to travel fairly light and wanted some fast glass to be able to shoot in low light situations so I first bought the Laowa 15mm f/2 (fully manual) and found it to be better than the formidable Sony 10-18 f/4 that had given me so many great shots.
    Then I briefly ran across one of your comments about legacy Minolta glass and ended up buying an old copy of the AF 135 f/2.8. It is compact and light. Bit of a bitch to focus (with a tiny ring just behind the unremovable lens hood), but as I began to use it I fell completely in love with it.
    I use it with the LA-EA3 adapter (because I figured that if I go full manual, I didn’t need the incomplete AF functions of the EA4)
    It is sharper than a razor, light as a feather, and with a click of a button I can put on AFS-C and get a 200mm lens.
    I am sooooo impressed by it. Took a shot of a mile-long beach (at 200mm) and was able to get a perfectly clear shot of the words on a sign at a distance of well over 1000 meters, handheld. Awesome.
    The lens cost me 230 Euros. Compare that to anything new today, both in terms of price and of weight !!
    The Laowa was also fantastic, although it’s truly a pity that you don’t get the exif info (lens name, aperture), but this lens is truly worth considering for anyone loving fast UWA’s.
    Again, thanks so much for sharing what you love and know.

  111. Hi Phillip, I’d like to second Diego’ post from 6-Dec, an article on best practices on camera settings would be great. The booklet in the box is ridiculous, and unfortunately I do not have as much time to use the camera as I wish, so getting a jump start on good settings, or recommendations on a good book that guudes you into how to learn the A7 would be highly appreciated. Gruss, Peter

  112. Hi Phillip!

    Your website is a tremendous help for people who want to shoot legacy glass on modern cameras!

    I’m looking for lenses with a short focus ring travel and short flange distance à la Leicas and Voigtlanders. Basically I’m looking for a smallest setup possible. As far as I know majority of adapters are quite large due to a short flange distance on Sony bodies. As Leicas are out of my price range, I’ve been looking for Voigtlanders. Any other lenses/mounts you could recommend?

  113. I use the Sony A7 R 2 with my Leica M3 black and my Nikon FA. It depends of my mood.
    The lenses I use on the A7 R2 are very nice. My photos at :

    Lenses and bodies here results :

    Voigtlander M mount 15 mk2
    Nikkor Ais 20/2’8
    Nikkor Ais 28/2’8
    Voigtlander M mount 40/1’4
    Leica M summicron-c 40/2
    Canon Mtm 50/1’4
    Nikkor Ais Micro 55/2’8
    Nikkor Ais Micro 105/2’8
    Leica M Tele Elmarit 90/2’8
    Nikkor Ais 200/4

    All great lenses with Sony A7 R2

    My list of top cameras for film

    y list

    1. Leica M3/M2. This rangefinder but the best

    2. Olympus OM 1 with the great Zuiko lenses

    3. Contax S2b or Yashica FD with Contax Zeiss lenses

    4. Nikon FA with Nikkor AIs

    5. Leica R6.2

    6. Minolta X700 and Rokkor lenses

    7. Olympus OM 4 T

    8. Nikon F3

    9. Mamiya Slr

    10. Rollei Slr

    But nothing makes the things so great than a Leica M. Leica M replaces all my slr.


  114. Hello Phillip and ohter readers here,
    your 3rd method for manual focussing is awesome. I have a litte addition to that in case of using A7RII (don´t know if other cams have this option). Set Finder Quality (Anzeigequalität) to “standard” for getting slighty more moiré effect.

    And isn´t it better to use the Picture Profiles for gaining more moiré effect (sharpening, crisp aso.)? Or has that in influence to the RAW?

    Does somebody have an Idea to increase the Moiré-Effect?

  115. Hello,

    Sorry for possibly dumb question, but…

    1/ If I put my 35mm Leica lens on Sony a7 body (full frame), would the DoF/distance scale work the same as originally on my Leica body?

    I use hyper-focal really a lot, I wonder if I can switch to digital not loosing this key feature (and without buying Leica digital body).

    2/ Another one is your opinion: how fast focusing manual lens on a7 body can be, comparing to manual focusing using Leica or other manual body (when you bring two images into correlation)?


    1. 1) Only with a very exact adapter from a company like Rayqual but then it would work the same.
      2) I think that totally depends on experience and focal length so I can’t really give you an answer.

      1. Thanks.

        That’s good news. I had second thoughts as additional adapter change distance between glass and sensor…

  116. Habe gerade eine für mich optimale Belegung der Tasten meiner a7r iii für die Fotographie mit manuellen Linsen gefunden, vielleicht ist das für den einen oder anderen nützlich:

    C1 – Zebra ein/aus (leicht erreichbar, toggelt die Funktion)

    C2 – Selftimer vor Auto-Bracketing vom Stativ (weniger oft benutzt, daher auf eine Taste die schlechter erreichbar ist)

    C3 – Gitterlinien (ich mache oft Architekturfotos)

    C4 – unbestimmt (noch frei)

    Steuerrad – ISO (rasches overriding der von mir meist benutzten Auto-ISO Einstellung)

    Steuerrad oben – wie Standard (Monitor- Einstellungen)

    Steuerrad links – wie Standard (Bildfolgemodus)

    Steuerrad mitte – Fokuslupe (optimal auf dieser Taste, da man danach ohnehin mit der Mitteltaste durch die Vergrösserungen muss…)

    Steuerrad unten – Steady shot ein / aus (Freihand / Stativ)

    Steuerrad rechts – Steady shot Brennweite manuelle Wahl (optimal auf dieser Taste, da man danach mit dem Steuerrad rasch die gewünschte Brennweite wählen kann)

    Viel Spaß beim Ausprobieren.

  117. Here’s the translation into English…

    Just found a customization for the buttons of my a7r iii that is quite useful for me when shooting with manual lenses.
    Maybe useful for others as well:

    C1 – Zebra on/off (quite easy to reach this one here for me, just toggels the function)

    C2 – Selftimer prior to Auto-Bracketing when using a tripod (I don’t use it that often, that is why I set it up on a key which I found less easy to reach with with my finger when I have the a7 in front of my eyes)

    C3 – Grid Lines (I quite often take architectural pics)

    C4 – not defined (still available)

    Control Wheel – ISO (quickly able to override Auto-ISO here, which I use by default)

    Control Wheel top button – standard (Monitor Display settings)

    Control Wheel left button – standard (Drive Mode)

    Control Wheel middle button – Focus Magnifier (quite optimal on this key as one has to subsequently click through the magnifications with this key anyway…)

    Control Wheel inferior button – Steady shot on / off (freehand / tripod)

    Control Wheel right button – Steady shot focal length selection (quite optimal on this key as one can subsequently use the Control Wheel to quickly chose the focal length).

    Enjoy trying.

  118. Hallo Phillip,
    I just purchased a secondhand Sony A7r. Now I’m going to look after cheap old lenses. Will the Monolta 1.7/55 MD be a good choice for $60?
    By the way, clicking on your picture of the glass of beer it changes in a delicious cup of cappuccino….

    And thanks a lot for the solidly and honestly written articles.


  119. Hi Phillip

    Your write-ups were suggested in a group on Facebook and I have to admit, it’s one helluva thing the man suggested to me. I’m gonna go through the whole thing a couple more times; it’s been very illuminating!

    I’m gonna have to use the la-ea4 on an A7 for now as I need to get the hang of using manual focus lenses ‘manually’ (my sight ain’t helping much). Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to reading more of your writings here.

  120. Just got a sony A7riii and using a 24mm Vintage lens and experiencing some vignetting (more like shadows but still annoying).

    Anything you can recommend to get rid of this? (Smaller adapter etc)


  121. I have been shooting with several Sony cameras,such as Sony A7,A7ii and A7rii.
    I have learned some important factors about using different cameras,which I would like to share.

    image stabilisation is not needed so much if You are using smaller sensor ore dont use high megapixel cameras.apsc and about 24 mpixel dont need image stabilisation,and full frame about 24 mpixel doesnt need image stabilisation, as long as You dont need image stabilisation if You shoot in low light ore large focal length ore high magnifications. I dont need image stabilisation because I use macro in daylight,use focal length between 24-135mm.

    Sony A7rii is not a good camera for vintage lenses in general, because of high megapixel.Its a very demanding camera and You need very excellent and expensive glass, and you also need tripod for landscape.
    I like to use mainly Minolta md lenses and other vintage lenses, and I shoot hand held, I do that now with Sony A7.I have also bought Minolta x-500 to shoot film,which gives very nice pictures, but my main camera is Fujifilm x-t3,which gives me all I need in photography.Apsc fujifilm has everything I need,and I like everything about it,except using vintage lenses because of smaller sensor.A7 gives me full frame which vintage lenses are design for,and I can shoot hand held with vintage lenses and get sharp images right into the corners with lenses such as Minolta md zoom 24-35mm f3.5,md rokkor 45mm f2,md 50mm f1.4,md 50mm f2,md zoom 75-150mm f4,md macro 50mm f3.5.
    I had before I sold Sony A7rii a very expensive camera system with some Loxia,Batis,Voigtlander and Sony FE lenses,but I sold the camera when I tried the fujifilm x-t2 because I could retain more highlight and shadows when shooting landscape in jpg. I dont like image editing and raw,so fujifilm with very nice jpg and colors are better for my needs and my wallet.

    As I Said before,I now onley use Sony A7 with vintage lenses,but I have had thoughts about buying A7ii and A7iii, but right now I dont need image stabilisation and autofokus,so sony A7 and fujifilm x-t3 is all I need now. The big problem with Sony FE system compared to fujifilm ,as I see it,is very expensive native lenses ore much more weight.
    Anyway right now, Sony A7 is a very nice camera to use vintage lenses.The onley thing In dont like,is the shutter would,but its ok, om getting used to it.

    1. Ohh I forgot to tell about my personal discovery of hdr when shooting landscape. I shoot 3 pictures with 1eV,0eV and -1eV,and use a software in computer to merge the pictures,in this way I get excellent pictures with both highlight and shadows recovery.

      Here are some hdr pictures with Sony A7 and minolta md zoom 24-35mm f3.5 hand held shooting

      some pictures hdr with fujifilm x-t3 and kit lens 18-55mm

  122. Thank you so much for your comprehensive survey Phillip. I really enjoy your site.

    I recently found an optimal way to set my A7s, NEX5R, A7iii to manually focus legacy lenses (Leica M-35mm, 50mm, Minolta Rokkor 35, 58, 135mm lenses).

    After just a few practice, I can achieve >95% accuracy in focusing stationary and slowly moving subjects (eg, my dog) WITHOUT adding Focus Magnification (shooting RAW).


    1) preferably using the electronic viewfinder (EVF) for higher accuracy in manually focusing of your legacy lens.

    2) Set Focus Peaking to Low (I use yellow as my color)

    3) In Creative Style: go for the CLEAR mode with Contrast set to -2, Sharpness set to +3 (for A7iii, it can be found in Menu >Camera 1 > page 12> choice 4 down)

    4) I mainly use my lenses wide open at full aperture during focusing, as well as shooting.

    That’s all you need. Of course, the kinds of legacy lenses you use may vary a lot in their contrast, so you can vary the (+) settings of the Sharpness in the Creative Style.

    Good Luck and enjoy the glorious selection of fine lenses available in the used market.

  123. I think this article has become and is becoming even more relevant over time as the FF mirrorless bodies are becoming cheaper.
    To anyone on a budget that enjoys or wants to get into photography/ post processing (and a little bit into the technical side of gear) I can recommend to look for a used Sony a7m1 that you can get starting at <400EUR. Get a set of manual lenses as described in many articles on this blog and you're set up with gear that offers top notch image quality and is very suitable for most types of photography.

    I've done just that a few years ago and myself/friends/family have never been happier with my photos.
    Funfact: In that time my peers have probably spent the same amount of money on smartphones (with oh so good cameras…) that i was able ot spend on serious photogear, so i'm pretty confident to say that i outsmarted them in a big way.

    Kudos to this blog!

  124. A nice introduction to the use of vintage manual lenses on Sony mirrorless cameras. My compliments. With an educated guess where mirrorless camera designs would go I waited quite some time before I went for an A7RII after the Canon 5DMKII, and IBIS and the new sensor design did it. In that time I already had some vintage lenses adapted to EF mount, mainly mount conversions, some adaptions. All with AF confirmation chips. I found that convenient and with the appearance of EF to FE adapters something to continue. Vintage SLR retrofocus wide angles usually perform better on FF sensors than vintage rangefinder wide angle lenses. The size of the SLR lenses in general is already a bit compensated by the fact that the single EF to FE adapter attached to the camera takes out 24mm of the length, its weight is 125 grams. I have about 20 EF mount lenses now; native, adapted and converted mounts. Some mentioned in your article. All with an EMF chip if not native. IBIS gets the focal length reported right away, EXIF editing goes way faster as well. The other aspects I prefer is lenses with the same focal ring direction and the aperture ring near the body.

    Kind regards, Ernst Dinkla

    1. >The size of the SLR lenses in general is already a bit compensated by the fact that the single EF to FE adapter attached to the camera takes out 24mm of the length, its weight is 125 grams.

      Ernst, you are using some very heavy adapter.

      Viltrox EF to E speedbooster comes at 129g.
      Dumb adapters I’ve had fall in range between 47-77g.
      EF-E helicoid adapter weighs 101g.

  125. Nice to see this article get an update.
    As i’ve stated above, i think it’s probably the most relevant piece of information for anyone trying to get serious with photography but is limited by a tight budget.

  126. The new a7riv is surely a good camera to use with legacy lenses. Sometimes i hear people say though that those old lenses do not offer enough resolution for modern high-res sensors. I doubt that, but i wonder about it.

  127. Nice article. Beautiful pics.
    Unfortunately, nothing about settings.
    Many photographers struggle with “Sony a6000 will not recognize manual focus lens even with “Release w/o lens” enabled” and it smees no one nowhere can find the correct solution/answer to that problem:(

  128. It will be interesting to use the Panasonic S1 for manual lenses, assuming the sensor stack isn’t too thick. I know the Leica SL series has a thinner stack.

    Anyway, the IBIS and better peaking will be nice. I will admit that the bigger body with the smaller lenses will balance a bit worse.

    1. From what I have seen I don’t think the Leica M lenses work extremely well on the SL, so I doubt the Panasonic is any better.
      But I don’t remember the source, so if you have different information please share ☺️

  129. Thank you very much for all your fabulous reviews ! I love so much your work !
    I would like to have some advise.
    My current kit is a7riii with loawa 15 f2, 24 GM, zony 55 1.8 & 85 1.8 FE mostly for taking pictures of my 2 years old son (thanks AF) & for landscape photography.

    I would like to extend my photography experience with a manual focus lens and I would like your advice.
    I would like a walk around / landscape lens, with a very special rendering (colour, contrast, 3d pop) not “flat”, quite sharp (across the frame at f5.6-f8) and, the more important, easy to use / focus (to take pleasure using it and improving my manual focus ability because i am a rookie).
    I think to go with a WA lens up to 35 mm (but not sure yet).
    After reading your reviews, i think about the voigtlander 21 1.4 nokton, loxia 21 or 35mm but perhaps i forgot other alternatives lens.
    Could you give me your feeling/ recommandation please?

    1. Maybe the soon to be available Voigtlander 35mm 1.2 SE could prove to be a useful addition to your kit.
      Slightly easier to focus and already available today would be the 7Artisans 28mm 1.4 FE+, a lens that sees lots of use recently.

      The 21mm lenses are too close to your 24mm 1.4 and I doubt will see much use.

      1. Thank you very much Bastian for your feedback !
        I thank to 21mm first for landscape purpose (especially for hiking in mountains). My idea was not to use my new manual lens for hiking / walk around with no other lens with me (except sometimes with the laowa 15mm in hiking).
        The 7Artisans 28mm seems great : very special rendering (I love it). Corners sharpness are not really good and i am afraid to be disappointed about that.
        The future voigtlander 35mm 1.2 e-mount will be clearly a good one hoping the purple fringing will be better corrected!
        In a different focal, what do you think about voigtlander 50 f2 APO ?It seems to have a special rendering like the voigtlander 21 1.4, and to be very easy to handle.

        1. I don’t enjoy the rendering of the 2/50 APO too much, so you are asking the wrong person here.
          But if that lens is what you like: sure, go for it!
          BTW: 7Artisans 28mm 1.4 FE+ may have better corners than the Voigtlander 35mm 1.2 SE, especially at wider apertures (my guess from reviewing the Leica M version of the Voigtlander).

          1. Nice to learn that about the 7artisan 28mm. It is always interested to speak with people who have tried lens.
            Which is your favorite the manual focus lens for rendering aspect (3d pop / colour / contrast)?

  130. Thank you. I have to think about this 7artisan 28mm instand of a 21mm. The handling is good ? Is it easy to focus ?
    Your pictures taken with this lens are very pleasant !

  131. Great site here – thanks for all the info. I’m considering moving to Sony and looking for a 28ish mm prime lens for travel/street/general use. Cost really isn’t a factor, but size is very important to me. I actually shoot predominantly on a Leica M with 35mm 1.4 – why would I want anything else I hear you wonder. Well – after years of manual focus, Im craving auto focus and the luscious sensor on the A7.

    So my question – have you trialled the E mount 20mm 2.8 pancake lens on an A7? I love the size of the lens and I understand it would be 30mm equivalent on full Frame. I also understand that the file size would be reduced (not sure how much by) but given the massive number of megapixels, I think I could live with that. I wonder how good or bad it is to be looking into a cropped area when setting the camera to APSC mode, and what the quality of the shots is like.

  132. Readers beware, “you could find more enjoyment in photography and you could save a lot of money.” thats how you get reeled in!
    I want to wholeheartedly thank you for all the hardwork all of you put in bringing us brilliantly written reviews and responses to readers of this amazing website.
    I had a question regarding modern primes versus adapted lenses. You have mentioned that the modern lenses (for example, Nokton 50 f1.2 E) has a better contrast and color reproduction compared to older lenses. I recently purchased Minolta 58 f1.2 and wanted to understand quantifiably on how would the images look different. Would there be a test I can do to assess how much better modern lens design and coatings have got?

    1. At maximum aperture even a simple side by side comparison should reveal such differences.
      If you add some stray light it should be even more obvious though.

      1. Thanks Bastian for the response.
        I was kind of hoping that it would not be that obvious of a difference. I will mainly use my lenses for landscape and astrophotography. Would you be able to recommend a good manual focus modern lens in 24 to 35mm range which I can use?

  133. Thanks for the very helpful guide! One question: If you do e.g. a landscape photo f9-11: Would you focus wide open and stop down afterwards, or focus aready stopped down? If the lens does not have focus breathing, shouldnt the first attempt lead to a more precise focussion?

  134. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful reviews and content. I have been using them for years now to help me make decisions on lenses. I recently got a Sony alpha a7 for a very good price and picked up a c/y adapter to use with my favorite lenses I’m just grateful that anytime I think of a question I tend to find an answer on your site.

    Thank you, sincerely.

  135. I have 35 manual focus prime lenses, many of them Takumars with the early auto-Takumars, 55 f2, 55 f2.2, and 35 f3.5 being favorites, as well as the 20mm f4.5 SMC lens. I also like the Tessars from the fifties and sixties. I use them on my a7II and my a850, an a-mount Sony that I picked up cheaply this year with only about 5000 shutter actuations. The a-mount camera can also use the excellent Minolta AF lenses. The Minolta G 17-35 f3.5, 24-105. 35-105 (first version), 70-210 f4 (“beercan”), APO 100-300, and 50mm f1.7 all in excellent plus condition that cost me a total of $1000 more or less. This is something a budget-minded photographer might want to consider.

  136. This is a very basic and probably stupid question, but I am confused about something. I am looking at adaptors for Nikon and Minolta manual focus lenses for a Sony NEX7. The Novoflex and Metabones adapters say that there is no communication at all. I am happy to do manual focus and setting apertures, but I am rubbish at getting light right. With these adapters, can you use aperture priority? Or do you have to do all your own metering?

  137. Some months later…

    I have bought an A-mount manual Laowa and have ordered a manual adapter from Urth. I was expecting to use shutter priority so that I have control of SS on the camera and aperture on the lens. Auto ISO. No?

    1. Within the limits of the ISO boundaries you set this will work.
      In this case you always have to set the aperture on the lens and the shutter speed in camera.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *