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Perfect camera for vintage lenses

First of all Hi :)
This is my first post here.

2 years ago I bought Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm 0.95 for M43 (Oly M10 and Pen-F) and even though I had almost all Oly prime lenses (12, 17, 25, 45, 75) 99.9% of the time I used that cheap manual lens.
It helped me discover that I'm faster with manual lenses (composing and focusing at the same time) than with AF (I just hate refocusing). oh and I shoot mainly street and my small but fast kids ;-)

Now I use Fuji XT2 because of the huuuuge viewfinder, speedbooster (Fuji->Minolta) and like 30 vintage lenses like Takumar, CRJ, Meyer Görlitz Optik, Minolta and couple more ;-)


Fuji is not perfect but I started thinking it's not hard (or expensive) to build perfect camera for vintage lenses.

Here is my list:
  • IBIS - nice to have
  • FF or APSC with built in speedboster
  • lens profiles like in Olympus
  • viewfinder like in Fuji XT2
  • no screen so the sensor could be moved more in the back of the body and the lenses wouldn't need so big/long adapters
  • dials on top like in Fuji XT2 but just more simple (SS, ISO)
  • BT for remote
  • big grip - like Sony A6500 for bigger battery
The goal would be to get the smallest possible form factor, cheap(er) price and long battery life.

What would you propose?
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Dawid,

Are you actually looking actively for a camera that fits these “requirements” or are you just imagining some speculative “ideal camera”.

What do you mean by “built in speedboster”. How would that function and how would it fit?

With your Olympus with “built in profiles”, does this refer to just Olympus lenses or can you generate profiles for other lenses? Then how does it recognize myriads of other lenses?

Fascinating project, anyway.


Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
First of all Hi :)
Here is my list:
  • IBIS - nice to have
  • FF or APSC with built in speedboster
  • lens profiles like in Olympus
  • viewfinder like in Fuji XT2
  • no screen so the sensor could be moved more in the back of the body and the lenses wouldn't need so big/long adapters
  • dials on top like in Fuji XT2 but just more simple (SS, ISO)
  • BT for remote
  • big grip - like Sony A6500 for bigger battery
Your perfect camera does not exist.

But why don't you get some cheap "full-frame" offer, like the A7 (about €650 used where you live)? It does not quite fill your bill, but plenty of people use it with success. As a bonus, it does not need that optical abomination called "speedbooster".
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Your perfect camera does not exist.

But why don't you get some cheap "full-frame" offer, like the A7 (about €650 used where you live)? It does not quite fill your bill, but plenty of people use it with success. As a bonus, it does not need that optical abomination called "speedbooster".


This makes much more sense!

We must remember that insistence on “perfection” is the enemy of many human ventures. Rather we are best at adapting to our own and our workflow limitations.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In fact, I now believe that the very first Canon D30, 3MP DSLR, is more than adequate for 90% of our photography. Look at the “Second Opinion”, (in section 21-22), by the talented and experienced pro photographer, Neil Turner! Amazing editorial pictures he made with this camera!

Also, all the amazing pictures from the first Mars explorer were a 1MP cameras! Stitching is so easy these days anyway!

Our photography hardly justifies, in most cases anything greater than the entry-level DSLR, of whatever brand catches your fancy.

As a luxury, get one great lens!

That’s it!

Asher
 
Imaging Technology: Theory, Alternatives, Practice and Advances. This is a brand independent discussion of theory, process or device. Ignore this forum unless this matters to you!

I do have Fuji XT-2 with speedbooster.

I'm trying to design my dream camera :)

"What do you mean by “built in speedboster”. How would that function and how would it fit?"
Just like a metabones speedbooster but this time fixed in front of apsc sensor designed to adapt FF vintage lenses. Sensor would get extra protection. +1 stop of light, FL (almost) the same as FF.

"With your Olympus with “built in profiles”, does this refer to just Olympus lenses or can you generate profiles for other lenses? Then how does it recognize myriads of other lenses?"
You can manually put and choose all info that will affect exif and IBIS. Very useful with manual lenses. It doesn't recognize because there is no connection between really old lenses and camera - you have to change it every time use change the lens.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Dawid,

I will take the bait! Just the unique speedbooster, alone, would become the key “defining” advantage of your new camera.

So you want a speed booster hidden in the camera? But it would also alter native Olympus lenses, unless the lens could by slotted in to the optical path.

Is there room inside the camera on either side to accommodate that, as it would have to be behind the current opening for the Olympus lens mount. Otherwise you couldn’t use Olympus lenses.

Things like the battery and the SSD holder could be moved into a new grip.

See if you can find a skeletonized picture of the camera and I could tell you whether I could, theoretically, find room for such a “speedbooster-mod”. I would propose to precision cut enough of the front off from your camera, (following an exact 3 D defined “safe line” to protect components), so a 3D printed replacement front could be added and then a new electric contact plate be wired in!

If it were possible, the drawings would cost about $1,000 and the 3D printing about $3,000 including finishing, while the rewriring could be about $1,500.

Knowing my past underestimates, I would want to have $15,000 available minimum for this project, but if I reached the completion of drawings stage, I would have a 95% chance of completing it first time.

Once this was successful, the costs could drop to about $3,000 per camera for the first batch of 10!

It all would be predicated on the space one could obtain and the feasibility of desired booster mechanism. Oops, that’s another $4,000 for that key prototype!!! ?

Sounds grim, but there’s still hope:-

Actually, any of the camera companies could design and prototype this in a month, if they so wished.

So perhaps one needs to look at the skeleton layouts of all digital camera bodies that otherwise one would be happy with, as there could be a camera more easilly modified so one is ambitious towards the most easilly modified existing body.

If so, we could post such a design in this and many other photography sites and get sign-ups for folk for a future Kickstarter project to stimulate the various camera manufacturers that there is a market eager and prepped for such a design.

So now, as a start, all one has to do is make drawings!

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Am I correct that here by "speedbooster" (and I think "Speed Booster" is a proprietary name) we mean a behind-the-lens focal length converter with a ratio less than one? Such a thing decreases the focal length of the lens system, increases its maximum aperture (the "speed boosting" aspect), and decreases the size of its image circle.

Because of the latter, I think it is typically used with a lens intended for use on a "full-frame" body but now mounted on a body with a smaller frame size.

In addition, I understand that a popular version can only be mounted on a "mirrorless" camera, owing to the smaller back focus of the new lens system. (I think one could make one with a "relay" aspect that could be mounted on the same kind of camera - DSLR - that the lens was originally intended for. Maybe there are in fact such things.)

Jerome, I'm not sure I understand you comment that with a camera like an A7 no such thing would be "needed". (It is of course never needed, but in some cases useful, notably when we wish our lens had a larger maximum aperture.)

Best regards,

Doug
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Am I correct that here by "speedbooster" (and I think "Speed Booster" is a proprietary name) we mean a behind-the-lens focal length converter with a ratio less than one? Such a thing decreases the focal length of the lens system, increases its maximum aperture (the "speed boosting" aspect), and decreases the size of its image circle.
This is what I understood as well.


Jerome, I'm not sure I understand you comment that with a camera like an A7 no such thing would be "needed".
I understood that the objective (no pun intended) of the original message was to use vintage lenses, thereby preserving their unique rendering. The simplest way to do so is to put them in front of a sensor of the size they have been designed for: 24mm x 36mm (and even that is not exempt of problems, since electronic sensors react differently than film to angled rays).

A focal reducer, as the speed booster is, introduces its own optical aberrations. The combination of original lens aberrations plus the ones introduced by the speed booster, gives a different rendering than the one hoped for.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
This is what I understood as well.




I understood that the objective (no pun intended) of the original message was to use vintage lenses, thereby preserving their unique rendering. The simplest way to do so is to put them in front of a sensor of the size they have been designed for: 24mm x 36mm (and even that is not exempt of problems, since electronic sensors react differently than film to angled rays).

A focal reducer, as the speed booster is, introduces its own optical aberrations. The combination of original lens aberrations plus the ones introduced by the speed booster, gives a different rendering than the one hoped for.
Hi Jerome,

Let’s imagine that some of the new looks would be interesting!

Besides, the greatest advantage, perhaps is the increase in apparent aperture.

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Jerome,

I understood that the objective (no pun intended) of the original message was to use vintage lenses, thereby preserving their unique rendering. The simplest way to do so is to put them in front of a sensor of the size they have been designed for: 24mm x 36mm (and even that is not exempt of problems, since electronic sensors react differently than film to angled rays).
Gotcha. Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

<snip>
See if you can find a skeletonized picture of the camera and I could tell you whether I could, theoretically, find room for such a “speedbooster-mod”. I would propose to precision cut enough of the front off from your camera, (following an exact 3 D defined “safe line” to protect components), so a 3D printed replacement front could be added and then a new electric contact plate be wired in!
<snip>
Thank you for that nice description of a probably-realizable way to manufacture a prototype "thing".

I am a little unsure what that "thing" is. Is it (for example):

1. A camera that has permanently built in a focal length converter with a ratio less than 1?

2. Is it a camera that has a place where a focal length converter with a ratio less than 1 can be "slipped in" when needed?

In either case), what kind of camera body is visualized? (I think almost certainly it would be a non-SLR ("mirrorless" body). Then, with what sensor size? Then, what kind of lenses would be suitable to be fitted to it.

For example, we might visualize a mirrorless body with a "four-thirds" size sensor, and we would visualize using lenses such as the Canon EF series. But in that case, the modified camera would have to have its front built out so that it reached to about the same place as if a Metabones SpeedBooster were attached.

Or is, more in line with the OP's aspirations, would it be intended that "vintage" lenses be used, as usual the objective of the inbuilt "booster" being to increase the maximum aperture of the lens system. Then of course we run into the issue of how would the exciting mounts of these lenses be adapted to the modified camera.

Now, those lenses likely have an image circle that, even as reduced in size by the inbuilt "booster", would still cover, for example, a 24 mm × 36 mm (eight thirds) sensor. So then the "thing" could probably be built on a mirrorless camera with such a sensor size.

And the object of this is to avoid the need to apply an external "booster" to the camera when its service is desired?

Sorry to be spoiling a nice story by asking about the exact composition of the unicorn's horn, but you know me.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi, Asher,



Thank you for that nice description of a probably-realizable way to manufacture a prototype "thing".

I am a little unsure what that "thing" is. Is it (for example):

1. A camera that has permanently built in a focal length converter with a ratio less than 1?

2. Is it a camera that has a place where a focal length converter with a ratio less than 1 can be "slipped in" when needed?

In either case), what kind of camera body is visualized? (I think almost certainly it would be a non-SLR ("mirrorless" body). Then, with what sensor size? Then, what kind of lenses would be suitable to be fitted to it.

For example, we might visualize a mirrorless body with a "four-thirds" size sensor, and we would visualize using lenses such as the Canon EF series. But in that case, the modified camera would have to have its front built out so that it reached to about the same place as if a Metabones SpeedBooster were attached.

Or is, more in line with the OP's aspirations, would it be intended that "vintage" lenses be used, as usual the objective of the inbuilt "booster" being to increase the maximum aperture of the lens system. Then of course we run into the issue of how would the exciting mounts of these lenses be adapted to the modified camera.

Now, those lenses likely have an image circle that, even as reduced in size by the inbuilt "booster", would still cover, for example, a 24 mm × 36 mm (eight thirds) sensor. So then the "thing" could probably be built on a mirrorless camera with such a sensor size.

And the object of this is to avoid the need to apply an external "booster" to the camera when its service is desired?

Sorry to be spoiling a nice story by asking about the exact composition of the unicorn's horn, but you know me.

Best regards,

Doug

1. The new ideal less than full frame camera: The goal would be to allow the vintage lenses to be adapted but with a greater apparent aperure. There are numerous adapters already available and extension tubes for added macro effects.

One would use an APS C sized sensor with IBIS in whatever cameras could most readily be modified. It woukd then take that camera body’s standard lenses as well as almost any other lens with choice of slipping in the custom designed additional lens in the optical path. OK, that’s for a new camera! ?



?

2. A Universal “Speed-boosta” system: Frankly, I would be happy simply having a universal adapter to an existing APS C or 4/3 mirrorless camera. That would already be so advantageous and it would come with 6 or so thin adapters to vintage and other lens mounts.

That is most doable if there is interest.

The greatest decision making has to be made not in what one can do but in what is most efficacious, given all one’s options in this sphere.

To me, a universal aperture-increasing adapter, (with extension tubes for macro), and adapters for different mounts, would have the most interest.

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

1. The new ideal less than full frame camera: The goal would be to allow the vintage lenses to be adapted but with a greater apparent aperure. There are numerous adapters already available and extension tubes for added macro effects.

One would use an APS C sized sensor with IBIS in whatever cameras could most readily be modified. It woukd then take that camera body’s standard lenses as well as almost any other lens with choice of slipping in the custom designed additional lens in the optical path. OK, that’s for a new camera!
Gotcha. Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Let’s imagine that some of the new looks would be interesting!
We can always imagine, but the new looks will not be "vintage". Usually, we get something close to what the original lens is, plus the aberration of the speedbooster, which stay the same between lenses.

Besides, the greatest advantage, perhaps is the increase in apparent aperture.
Not really, either.

How can I explain that in layman's terms? Let me try:
- the real aperture (not the f number) is the size of the front surface of the lens. That surface will let so many photons through.
- using a "full frame" sensor, these photons are concentrated on the sensor
- using the same lens on a smaller sensor, some photons hit the area outside the smaller sensor and are lost
- using the lens on a smaller sensor with the speedbooster, all the photons are concentrated on the small sensor again and none are lost.

You may have read that a larger sensor is at an advantage in low light, because a larger sensor collects more photons. That advantage is strictly equal to what the speed booster gains.
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Jerome,

Not really, either.

How can I explain that in layman's terms? Let me try:
- the real aperture (not the f number) is the size of the front surface of the lens. That surface will let so many photons through.
- using a "full frame" sensor, these photons are concentrated on the sensor
- using the same lens on a smaller sensor, some photons hit the area outside the smaller sensor and are lost
- using the lens on a smaller sensor with the speedbooster, all the photons are concentrated on the small sensor again and none are lost.
Yes, and because the smaller sensor has a smaller area (Duh!), the illuminance on it is higher than in the "larger sensor case", resulting in a higher photometric exposure (for a given exposure time). Thus, for a given noise performance (crudely) we can shoot with a shorter exposure time, just as we could (on the "larger sensor" camera) with a lens having (by itself) a greater relative aperture (the formal name for what is characterized by the f number).

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
While such was not the original issue of this thread, the discussion illuminates some of the interesting considerations as we consider cameras with different sensor sizes.

Consider two cameras, one ("A") with a a certain size sensor and one ("B") with a sensor of about half the linear dimensions of the one in A.

Suppose that, if considering camera A, we would want to use a lens with a focal length of 100 mm to get the framing we wish for a certain shot. Thus, if we were instead to use camera B, we would need a lens of focal length 50 mm.

Suppose that we wish to use the same ISO sensitivity in both cameras (Why? Well, let me put off dealing with that for a while. So just "suppose"). And suppose we want to use the same shutter time on each camera (perhaps based on subject motion considerations). Then, suppose that (for either cameras) the exposure metering system calls for an aperture of f/2.0.

Now on camera A, where the lens of interest has a focal length of 100 mm, the lens would have to have an entrance pupil diameter of 50 mm (we can think of this as the required diameter of the front element, although it is not really that simple).

On camera B, with a 5 mm lens, the entrance pupil diameter would have to be only 25 mm. Thus we can imagine that the physical size (and probably weight) of the required lens on camera B is less than for the lens on camera A.

But what about the matter of ISO sensitivity? Let's assume that one of our criteria is noise performance. Lets further assume that the pixel count we want (and have) is the same for both cameras. Then, simplistically, the noise performance of the smaller-sensor camera (B) at a certain ISO sensitivity would be expected to be worse that for that same ISO sensitivity on the larger sensor camera (B).

So we might have to go to a lower ISO sensitivity setting for camera B. The, all other conditions being the same, for proper exposure we would need a larger aperture. And that lens would probably be larger.

So it's the same old story: "Faster, smaller, cheaper, sooner - choose two".

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

But Doug,

Can we have Dawid’s “speed booster” benefiting him as he wished?
Well, I would need to be sure I know what he is trying to accomplish. And in what context. Does he want all of his antique lenses to have a greater aperture (and a smaller image circle, which is is OK) when put on his "dream camera?

Or does he want to have a "switchable in and out" "speed booster" in his dream camera, so he can engage it as wanted?

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Dawid,

Welcome aboard.

I have no experience working with vintage lenses on modern digital cameras.

Do the vintage lenses you are using (or would like to use) typically have a focusing facility built in (as distinct, for example, from lenses intended for use on view cameras, which depend on movement of the front standard to focus)?

For those that do not, do you then have use adaptation arrangements that have a focusing movement built in?

Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Do the vintage lenses you are using (or would like to use) typically have a focusing facility built in (as distinct, for example, from lenses intended for use on view cameras, which depend on movement of the front standard to focus)?
The original message cites "30 vintage lenses like Takumar, CRJ, Meyer Görlitz Optik, Minolta and couple more", which would appear to be SLR lenses from the 70', i.e. pre-AF.

I have some experience with lenses of that era, but not too much with the speedbooster.
 
Ok the built in speedbooster would be only in APSC size sensor to get more or less FF FL eqiv.
The second option is just FF sensor.

AF is slowing and distracting me so I only use pre-AF lenses.

It would be amazing if one of the big manufacturers built a camera just for vintage MF lenses.

I was not expecting such a big topic :)
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Ok the built in speedbooster would be only in APSC size sensor to get more or less FF FL eqiv.
The second option is just FF sensor.

AF is slowing and distracting me so I only use pre-AF lenses.

It would be amazing if one of the big manufacturers built a camera just for vintage MF lenses.

I was not expecting such a big topic :)
Dawid,

Don’t be surprised at the interest in your question’s response! We take this seriously!




.......I’m a fan of vintage lenses! But look at the collections of Dr Klaus Schmitt! Then Jim Galli. These are famous worldwide as serious collectors and mavins of the most wonderful lenses ever made!

So what pictures have you made? ?

What interesting lenses have caught your eye.

Yes I have Pentax, Super Multi Coated Takamurs, Leica, “Visual Quality” Pinkham & Smith, lots of German lenses! Now you have got me enthusiastic again!

I have even just held the lens next to the camera body using hope and pressure to keep out stray light!

....and gotten beautiful photographs!

Jim Galli once used a sewage pipe and clamp to mount a giant lens, his $hit-pipe special!

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Dawid,

Ok the built in speedbooster would be only in APSC size sensor to get more or less FF FL eqiv.
Aha!

The second option is just FF sensor[/qute]

Of course.

[qupte]AF is slowing and distracting me so I only use pre-AF lenses.
Interesting.

It would be amazing if one of the big manufacturers built a camera just for vintage MF lenses.
A very interesting thought. Perhaps it would not be a "big" manufacturer. There are many companies making "niche" products.

If there were such a thing, what type of mount would you suggest it have? Perhaps a recognized SLR mount (even one not today very popular), on to which various kinds of adapters could easily be fitted?

I was not expecting such a big topic :)
Well, that's how it often works here. Other times an inquiry like yours will just lie there!

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Leica builds cameras for vintage MF lenses. What do I have to explain? A large proportion of their rangefinder lenses were designed in the 50s-60s and they are all MF.
Of course, I knew that! I was thinking of some special Leica body for vintage LF camera lenses that perhaps only appeared in Europe. I consider your “vintage”, rangefinder, Leica mount lenses, “modern”, LOL!

“Vintage” are my Pinkham & Smith or Taylor of London Large Format barrel lenses!

Asher
 
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