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Set exposure with a manual lens - possible?


Hi, Using Sigma 14.

In the past I have asked this and tried but had no luck. I wondered if someone who knows can slowly explain how to do this.

I want to use the camera's light meter to set the correct exposure with a manual lens. How do I do this? Is it possible?

Light goes through the lens and hits the exposure meter right? I can stop the lens down manually to change the amount of light. The camera knows the ASA (or whatever it's called these days) and knows the shutter speed. So wouldn't it be possible? But I haven't figured out how. Does anyone know?

Focusing is tricky. When the image is focused there's seems to be a light/indicator that lights up in the viewfinder. But it lights for a fraction of a second, making focusing tricky. Plus I find the Sigma focusing screen not optimum for me so it's hard to focus but I could deal with this.

There are so many sharp lens from the past, it'd be ashame not to try to use them with an adapter...



Active Member
How a Nikon doesn't do it, may be helpful maybe not . .

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Had a similar experience with a Nikon D50. With a non-electronic lens (a Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.8 Pancolar) the camera exposure meter did not work at all, just like the manual said it wouldn't. The cheap Russian 42mm adapter I bought had a lens inside the camera (to allow infinite focus) which interfered with the mirror operation so I gave up on that approach.

I've read that a lot of people prefer "old glass". I myself am not one of those and (heresy) would say that modern computer-designed digital lenses are plenty good enough for government work ;-)

Well, I just took the lens off my SD10 and pointed the hole at the TV and was able to get a meter reading by messing with the shutter speed wheel - so, with an all-manual lens, the SD10 is better than the Nikon in that at least it does something.

My suggestion is that you set your lens to it's minimum f/number. You set the camera to aperture priority with that same f/number. You point it at the subject and note the shutter speed selected by the camera. If that seems to work, you now know the exposure. Then you set the camera to manual, set your lens to the aperture you really wanted and reduce the shutter speed accordingly. Several shots at various shutter speeds would be a good idea.

Let us know how it goes . . .



Well-Known Member
Maybe I dont't really understand the problem, but I'm using the SD14 and the SD9 with old manual focusing lenses (mostly M42 and Tamron Adaptall) with no trouble at all:

On the SD9 I set the Av mode and the f/5.6 at the camera.
On the SD14 f/1.0

Then I move the aperture ring in the lens and the speed is computed automatically. Just point, compose and shot.

The only drawback with the old lenses is the battery change: when you have to swap the battery, it's mandatory to have a Sigma AF lens in the cam. Once the fresh charged battery in the cam, you can replace the lens for whichever old lens you want. That's why I keep the 18-50mm kit lens, otherwise I'd be happy with no AF lenses.

Hope this helps.