Vintage Visions

As I venture back into 35mm film photography after a 20-year hiatus, I am fascinated with using old lenses with my Fuji X-mount camera. My Fujifilm X-mount system is super fun because I can adapt almost any lens mount via an inexpensive adapter. My Asahi Optical and Minolta lenses were new decades ago, and the image quality of the adapted lens can vary depending on the quality of the lens and the adapter used. However, the possibilities to use these decades-old lenses are nearly endless.

I adapted my SMC Takumar (M42) and MD Rokkor-X (SR-mount) lenses to the Fuji X-mount using M42-FX and MD-FX lens adapters. The M42 and SR mount lenses do not have electronic contacts, so they cannot communicate with the camera body. This means that autofocus and aperture control must be done manually. The Fuji X APS-C sensor has a crop factor of 1.53x, which means that a 28mm lens will have an effective angle of view of a 43mm (1.53x28) lens when adapted to the X-mount. Because of the crop factor, the depth of the field will also be affected. A lens that may have a shallow depth of field on a full-frame camera will have a deeper depth of field on the X-mount.

I have wide-angle and "normal" lenses that become "normal" and "short portrait" lenses when adapted to my Fuji X-mount camera.

Make Model 35mm focal length when adapted to X-Tran sensor
Minolta MD W.Rokkor-X 28mm F:2.8 42.56mm
Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm F:2 68.4mm
Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm F:1.7 76mm
Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm F:1.4 76mm
Pentax SMC Takumar 55mm F:2 83.6mm

Camera Settings

When using manual focus lenses on Fuji X bodies, there are several important settings to remember:

  1. Enable the "Shoot Without Lens" option in Shooting Menu 3 to ensure the camera triggers properly.
  2. Configure the "Mount Adaptor Setting" in the same menu to inform the camera about the focal length of your lens and record it in the EXIF data.
  3. Access the MF Assist options in the Shooting Menu 4 for better focusing with manual lenses. There are three options:
    • Standard: This option allows real-time zooming into the image to check focus at the pixel level.
    • Digital Split Image (unavailable on X-E1 and X-Pro 1): This feature displays a split image rectangle, aligning the two halves when the focus is achieved. It resembles split image viewfinders on manual film SLR cameras.
    • Focus Peak Highlight: This mode highlights the areas of the image that are in focus. Newer cameras offer a choice of highlight colors, while older bodies provide high and low settings. Focus Peak Highlight is the preferred method of MF assist mentioned.

Lenses

My Mintola Rokkor-X lenses are known for their sharpness, contrast, and colour rendition. These lenses were produced in the 1970s and are compatible with a wide range of Minolta SR mount SLR cameras. They have a classic, all-metal construction and feature a focusing ring and aperture ring that are smooth and easy to operate.

My MD W.Rokkor-X 28mm F:2.8 lens is a wide-angle manual focus lens useful for landscapes, architecture, and interiors. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 allows for low-light shooting and shallow depth of field.

Lens MD W.Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8
Focal length 28mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens construction 7 elements in 7 groups
Angle of view 75 degrees
Minimum focusing distance 0.3m (1ft)
Filter size 49mm
Weight 200g (7.1oz)
Dimensions 63mm x 44mm (2.5in x 1.7in)
Sunday 15 January 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1/1500 sec, ISO 320 · MD W.Rokkor-X 28mm F2.8 at f/8

My MD Rokkor-X 45mm F:2 is a "normal" manual focus lens that offers a slightly wider than normal perspective on full-frame cameras, making it a versatile lens for various applications. The maximum aperture of f/2 allows for low-light shooting and shallow depth of field.

Sunday 15 January 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1320 sec, ISO 320 · MD W.Rokkor-X 28mm F2.8 at f/8
Lens MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2
Focal length 45mm
Maximum aperture f/2.0
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view 51 degrees
Minimum focusing distance 0.5m (1.5ft)
Filter size 49mm
Weight 225g (7.9oz)
Dimensions 63mm x 42mm (2.5in x 1.7in)
Aster · Sunday 17 January 2021 · FujiFilm X-T2 at 1680 sec, ISO 400 · MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2 at f/2

The MD Rokkor-X 50mm F:1.7 lens was a popular "standard" lens for everyday photography and is often considered a "nifty fifty" lens. The large maximum aperture of f/1.7 allows for low-light shooting and shallow depth of field.

Allium canadense · Thursday 26 August 2021 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1340 sec, ISO 320 · MD ROKKOR-X 45mm F2 at f/2.8
Lens MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Focal length 50mm
Maximum aperture f/1.7
Minimum aperture f/16
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view 46 degrees
Minimum focusing distance 0.45m (1.5ft)
Filter size 49mm
Weight 205g (7.2oz)
Dimensions 63mm x 40mm (2.5in x 1.6in)
Sunday 13 November 2022 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1/1500 sec, ISO 2500 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 at f/2.8

Like the Minolta lens, the Asahi Optical Company manual focus lenses have a classic, all-metal construction and a focusing ring and aperture ring that are smooth and easy to operate. These lenses were also produced in the 1960s and 1970s and are compatible with a wide range of Pentax M42-mount SLR cameras, including those made by Pentax, Praktica, and Zenit. The lenses feature Asahi Optical Company's SMC (Super Multi-Coating) technology, which helps to reduce flare and ghosting and improves contrast and colour reproduction.

Saturday 1 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1900 sec, ISO 200 · MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 at f/4.0

The Asahi Optical Company Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm F:1.4 lens was a popular "standard" lens for everyday photography and is also considered a "nifty fifty" lens. The large maximum aperture of F:1.4 allows for low-light shooting and shallow depth of field. Its technical details are almost identical to the technical details of the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm F:1.7.

My copy of the Asahi Optical Company SMC Takumar 50mm F:1.4 is from Dad's old Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II. It has some fogging in the lens, and a screw that holds the rings for the aperture markings is missing. It rotates loosely, which makes it very hard to set the aperture.

Lens Asahi Optical Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4 M42
Focal length 50mm
Maximum aperture f/1.4
Minimum aperture f/16
Lens construction 8 elements in 7 groups, including one aspherical element
Angle of view 46 degrees
Minimum focusing distance 0.45m (1.5ft)
Filter size 49mm
Weight 275g (9.7oz)
Dimensions 64mm x 43mm (2.5in x 1.7in)

Like the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm F:1.4, the Asahi Optical Company Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm F:2 lens is a standard lens for everyday photography despite its 55mm focal length. It is also often considered a "nifty fifty" lens. The maximum aperture of f/2 allows for low-light shooting and shallow depth of field.

Coffee mug and saucer in black and white
Saturday 12 December 2020 · FujiFilm X-T2 · Asahi Optical SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4
Lens Asahi Optical Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/2 M42
Focal length 55mm
Maximum aperture f/2
Minimum aperture f/16
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view 43 degrees
Minimum focusing distance 0.45m (1.5ft)
Filter size 49mm
Weight 200g (7.1oz)
Dimensions 63mm x 62.5mm (2.5in x 2.5in)
Friday 21 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 1180 sec, ISO 160 · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 at f/4.0

These decades-old all-metal lenses are heavier than my mostly plastic Fuji XF27mmF2.8 R WR lens, which weighs 85g. The lightest of these all-metal lenses is the Pentax SMC Takumar 55mm F:2 lens which weighs 195g.

Wednesday 19 April 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 at 180 sec, ISO 500 · SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 at f/1.0
Lens XF27mmF2.8 R WR
Focal length 27mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/16
Lens construction 7 elements in 5 groups, including one aspherical element
Angle of view 55.5 degrees
Minimum focusing distance 0.34m (1.1ft)
Filter size 39mm
Weight 84g (2.96oz)
Dimensions 61.2mm x 23mm (2.4in x 0.9in)

Author: Khürt Williams

a human, an application security architect, avid photographer, nature lover, and formula 1 fan who drinks beer.

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