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Mirex Adapter for Canon EOS to Sony ‘E’ Mount

First look at the new Mirex adapter for the A7 & A7R

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David Tolcher

An enthusiast who enjoys having photography as an excuse to get out in to the wilds.

davidtolcher.co.uk



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.

http://www.mirex-adapter.de/index.htm

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.

_DSC1320 _DSC1322 _DSC1323 _DSC1324

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:

  1. 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
  2. Re-centre-ing of the image circle after tilting for focus using the Mirex to maintain the highest quality.
  3. 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.

_MG_0313 _MG_0312 _MG_0311

Here is the full frame stitch showing the vignetting:

_DSC1227 uncropped

There is a little unevenness in the vignette surprisingly which I haven't been able to explain yet.

Here is the cropped version:

_DSC1227 pano

Finally here is a picture taken with the 28mm Contax Distagon showing the un corrected interpretation:

_DSC1220

Other observations:

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.

In conclusion:

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:



  • Hi David,

    Thanks for the article. I also bought this adapter recently, planning to use it on the A7r with a Canon 24mm TS-E lens stopped down to f11 using the tripod mount. The possibility of rise/fall and tilt on the Canon with the additional option of parallax free shift on the Mirex was the attraction for me as well as being able to rotate the camera from landscape to portrait without altering the movements on the TS-E.
    I haven’t had time to try it properly yet, but I have found that you can’t mount the 24mm TS-E lens with the ‘lens tripod mount’ already attached to the adapter. The small rotation lever ‘cover’ on the lens interferes (by only 1 or 2mm) with the left side of the tripod mount and stops the lens from being seated in the adapter for attachment. The only way around it is to attach the lens first and then screw the tripod mount on after, not ideal if you need to remove the lens again as you have to do it all in reverse order. Of course none of this is a problem if you don’t want to use the tripod mount, but that’s alot of weight on the A7r mount and I wouldn’t want to put that much strain on it myself.
    If Mirex made the tripod mount area slightly longer or larger with the holes further away to allow greater clearance between the tripod mount and lens mount then there shouldn’t be any problems with any lenses. I’m not sure why they need such tight tolerances in that area.
    I couldn’t say if this would be a problem with the other TS-E lenses as I don’t own any of them. This is only an issue with the 24mm TS-E lens as far as I know.
    One more thing, they also accept payment via Paypal.

    Nick

  • Thanks Nick for the clarification on Paypal. I wasn’t aware of that. I have had trouble with the novoflex mount, a Nikon 85mm PC and the grip with the knobs. It does all get a bit conjested.

    • I looked at the Metabones III adapter, but that won’t offer rear movements and from what I’ve read there seems to be problems with internal reflections when using shifts. The solution was to cut pieces of black flock paper and stick them to the inside of the adapter which sounds like too much hassle. I contacted Novoflex a couple of weeks ago after reading that they are working on an E-Mount to EF adapter with electronic connection. They replied with:

      “we already did a lot of protoyping. We are not very satisfied with the results and have to go on with it.
      So we can not say, when we can deliver an electronic version”

      I’m waiting to see the new TS lenses that Canon are supposed to be releasing. A newly designed 50mm and 90mm would be a welcome addition to the A7r. I hope one of the manufacturers will produce some smaller, lighter TS lenses for E-Mount, but I doubt that’ll happen anytime soon: if ever.
      I’d like to see a 28mm TS and even a 65/70mm. Simon Miles suggested a 35mm in a previous article which would also be very welcome. My most used lenses on LF are the 110,150 and 210. I very rarely use the 90mm.

      In my opinion (and this is from my very limited experience with it), as far as digital TS photography goes: there’s still nothing that beats working with a view camera!

  • I guess that this adapter can not be used with the Canon TS lenses as there is no way to set the diaphragms?

    • Maciej Markiewicz (landscape.lu)

      From what I understand from Nick McLaren message he is using Canon TS 24mm with this adapter and the Sony A7r… am I right ?

      • That is my understanding also.

        • After a small amount of use with this set-up I can say that it’s certainly not an ideal solution, but this adapter was always intended for manual aperture lenses as stated in David’s article and by Mirex. My interest was to have a temporary wide angle solution for the A7r used mainly for perspective control and with parallax free movements hopefully possible.
          Giulio, I mounted the lens on a borrowed Canon body, set the aperture to f11, took it into a dimly-lit room and during the 20-30s exposure released the battery from the camera. The aperture stayed at f11 and I then mounted it on the Mirex adapter.
          So far I’ve discovered that shifts with the Mirex are limited to about 5-6mm before vignetting creeps in and even sooner if the lens has been tilted. I assume the opening in the Mirex is causing the premature vignetting. If you want the greatest shift capabilities then all movements should be done on the lens.
          Using the lens movements only, with the camera in landscape orientation and no tilt, you can shift left/right about 9mm (without vignetting) or maximum rise/fall.
          In portrait orientation rise/fall is limited to about 7mm but maximum left/right, however, in portrait the shift knob on the lens is awkward to turn.
          If you need tilt combined with fall in portrait orientation, and you don’t need to retain perspective, you’re better off using the Mirex for the tilt as vignetting occurs much later. We’re talking about 5 degrees tilt on the Mirex with 7mm fall on the lens. In normal use you should never need as much as 5 degrees of tilt with this lens.
          In conclusion: on the Canon 24mm TS-E lens the Mirex is an expensive camera rotating device with limited movements, but using the movements on the lens you have much greater control if you’re willing to put up with the restrictions mentioned above and in my first comment. Please remember I was merely testing this combination out as a temporary solution and for now, it seems to work ok for my own needs.
          I could see it being a great device with manual lenses on an APS-C camera like the new A6000 which it was probably designed for. If you use several TS-E lenses and need more aperture control then the Metabones III is the obvious choice.

  • Pingback: Sony TidBits…(and 7 Stages of moving from Canon to the Sony A7r). | sonyalpharumors()

  • russell Jones-Davies

    I see these adapters being used almost exclusively on Sony A7r camera bodies and wondered how useful they are for Canon DSLR users?

    I have a 5D MKIII but I also have some old Mamiya 645 lenses too. DO they provide good quality images with good sharpness?

    • This is where the advantage of the mirrorless format comes in. In order to be able to put an adapter between the lens and the sensor there needs to be space. On a 5D2 the only way to create that space is to use medium format lenses which usually have a larger mirror in the way of the film/sensor. Because the Sony has a very small distance between the sensor and lens mount, this leaves lots of room to add ‘stuff’ between the lens mount and most SLR lenses.

      So the answer is that it isn’t possible to adapt 35mm SLR lenses for ‘mirrored’ cameras. You will either have to adapt medium format lenses or move to a mirrorless system to take advantage of these.

  • psme

    Just found this great article! Thanks!

    I had the Mirex Mamiya to EOS TS adapter for 6 months. And use a EOS to E adapter to use the whole setup on my Sony A7.

    Too bad I leave my camera with the Mirex on a taxi! And need to start over again!

    Anyway, in my Mirex-A7 setup, there was a VERY annoyance problem, is that the rotation “click stop” is NOT at the usual 12/3/6/9 o’clock position. I guess the click stop is at around 2 o’clock or something. That makes doing stitching almost impossible!

    I wonder if the rotation click stop position problem has anything to do with the E-mount mounting position is at 45 degree, unlike the EOS at 3 o’clock position.

    My question for this direct EOS to E Mirex adapter is, does the rotation “click stop” position is at the exact 12/3/6/9 o’clock position?

    As I still have a few Mamiya 645 lens, does this EOS to E adapter works with Mamiya 645 lens (with a Mamiya to EOS at the front of the Mirex adapter) for TS on a A7/A7r? Or this EOS to E TS only work with 135 lens?

    Thanks! :)

  • Ken Tucky

    Interesting article, considering to buy a Mamiya 645 lens for shifting on EOS with the Zörkendörfer adapter. – But, is it just me? I don’t find any of the above pictures of Cornwall ‘sharp’. All of them are sort of soft. Very soft. Not acceptable, actually. If this is the results to be expected from recycling old lenses, then this will not be for me. Nice pictures, though!

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