Inside this issue
Mirex Adapter for Canon EOS to Sony ‘E’ Mount
First look at the new Mirex adapter for the A7 & A7R
An enthusiast who enjoys having photography as an excuse to get out in to the wilds.
Our recent article on the Mirex adapters from Germany sparked a lot of interest with the opportunity to mount medium format lenses on Nikon or Canon SLR cameras. In a little advertised move (you wont find it on the Mirex website) they have produced a tilt/shift adapter from the same stable for mounting EOS mount lenses to Sony ‘E’ mount. This becomes of particular interest to A7/A7R owners who now have access to some very interesting possibilities.
The mount comes with the usual uni directional tilt and perpendicular axis shift from the bigger brother and a bracket for accepting a tripod plate. A plate was promised but as yet is not available (simply add a lens plate mounted as afar forward as possible). It rotates through 180degrees with 2 push locks but always with perpendicular shift to axis tilt arrangement. Tilt is locked with a rotating knob. The adapter gives 10degrees of tilt in one direction only and 15mm of shift in each direction. The shift is operated by a push lock and will lock at any setting but has indents that click each 5mm and at the '0' position. All movements are 'finger' powered and not geared.
The mount is only available in EOS fitting and no others are currently planned from what I understand from my conversation with Mirex via email. EOS is a good choice for 35mm as it has the widest throat of any current SLR manufacturer so adapters can be easily fitted from just about anything.
I have been using the Canon FD 35mm Tilt/Shift lens on the A7R with good results so why my interest ? I was fortunate to find a Contax 35mm PC Distagon Shift lens at a very low price and looked for ways to add tilt capability to the lens. I used to run a Contax 35mm film system and love the look and rendition of the old Contax glass and also had a 100mm macro lens from those days. The PC Distagon is widely regarded as one of the finest lenses available for 35mm systems.
The Mirex adapter with the PC lens is proving to be far more flexible than I first envisaged. Some interesting observations with respect to using a large format camera:
- Mounting the lens on its tripod foot gives rear tilt and rear shift as an option. All tilt/shift lens that I am aware of only give you front tilt & shift. You also have access to front shift on the lens in addition to the rear movement options.
- Mounting the camera (as opposed to using the lens mount) on a tripod gives access to front tilt & shift - note that shift is now available on both lens and adapter and can be in perpendicular axis.
Why is this relevant ? If you come from a large format background then the option to use either front or rear movements depending on how you want the verticals to look of whether you want to ‘loom’ is baked into your thinking. It is what gives the flexibility that a large format camera is valued for and has been almost impossible to totally replicate in smaller formats. The exciting thing will be to mount a tilt /shift lens on the Mirex adapter and at which point you have got a pocket monorail with a 36mp back attached in the form of the A7R ! Front and rear tilt & shift would be available with the ability to configure the adapter and lens in different axis to give swing also.
For me the most common uses for the ‘lens tripod mounted’ option with a PC lens will be:
- Front rise or fall using the shift on the lens in the vertical configuration to maintain vertical lines whilst still giving access to tilt and panoramic stitching on the Mirex adapter
- Re-centre-ing of the image circle after tilting for focus using the Mirex to maintain the highest quality.
- In macro usage the image circle grows substantially as magnification increases so using a lens designed for 35mm will allow full tilt once in the macro territory. I tried the 100mm Contax macro lens and had no vignetting on full tilt at approximately 1m or less.
Before getting carried away… PC shift lenses from Contax, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Canon will give most of the functionality. Lenses that need electronic stop-down will not work on the Mirex adapter. Lenses will only work in stop down mode but I personally don't have any problem with that workflow.
There are practical limitations to the size of the image circle even on PC lenses available today. Looking at the Contax PC Distagon as an example the following images show the extent of the movements available. I purchased a Fotodiox Contax to EOS adapter to do the conversion. The image is for illustrative purposes.
Maximum fall on the PC distagon (more than needed to hold the verticals but I wanted to show the maximum situation)
Full side to side shift for a panoramic on the Mirex.
Here is the full frame stitch showing the vignetting:
There is a little unevenness in the vignette surprisingly which I haven't been able to explain yet.
Here is the cropped version:
Finally here is a picture taken with the 28mm Contax Distagon showing the un corrected interpretation:
I find the ergonomics of using the adapter on its tripod mount quite hard to get used to. Tilt is achieved by moving the camera upwards in an arc and is just not intuitive for me. YMMV
The adapter with lens is very tight to the grip on the A7/R so the tripod foot needs to be forward from the foot (see picture 2) otherwise full rotation cannot be achieved.
I am excited by the possibilities of using the adapter with tilt/shift or PC lenses, OK there are some limitations to coverage and what you can do but the movement available with the combination will exceed majority of requirements before it becomes an issue.
This feels like a hugely undersold concept for the landscape photographer giving access to movements only available (to a lesser extent) on the technical cameras with medium format digital backs costing tens of thousands of pounds or by doing it the old fashioned way with film and a monorail style camera. Something like the Linhof Techno doesn't offer rear movements because of the need for absolute precision in the plane of focus.
To buy, contact Mirex via email and a quote will be sent with payment only available by bank transfer which may cause some alarm but I know many people who have dealt with Mirex this way without issues. I have bought from many companies in Germany by bank transfer without issue.
This is a beautifully engineered and European made item and is expensive compared to some of the Far Eastern clones appearing on the market. However I feel its worth the money, the difference is small once taxes and shipping are included. The medium format adapters that Joe, Andrew and Tim use give good reliable service.
Here is a small gallery of images taken with the Mirex and PC Distagon and Contax 100mm F2.8 Macro lens on a recent trip to Cornwall: