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I would like to use my grandfather’s Voigtländer Bessamatic lenses (DKL mount) on my Canon EOS 600D.

I looked for adapter rings and basically found two different types: Simple ones without any electronics (from 40€/50 US$), and "AF confirm" types with different levels of complexity (from 60€/75 US$). I also assume there might be different types of chips in the rings (Dandelion, EMF…).

The Voigtländer lenses are 1:3.4/35, 1:4/135, and 1:4/200.

I just started working with a DSLR, and I am a bit overwhelmed with the choices. Should I get a simple one and "learn to shoot manually", or invest a bit more to have the programmable ring with focus confirmation (which I imagine to be pretty cool)?

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For 25 bucks, go for it. –  Andy Blankertz Oct 29 at 15:14

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

You'll never regret buying the focus confirm adapter once you forget how much you had to pay for it :-).

"Auto confirm" is akin to "poor man's AF", and allows you to achieve, in many cases, close to AF results with far less effort or thought or concentration than pure MF takes in extreme conditions. With auto-confirm you have to "think" a lot less and can choose to use "pure" MF anytime you wish.

In many cases the difference in price is large between FC and non FC adapters - maybe 5:1+. In your case the difference is about 1.5:1 adding to the merits of buying the FC version.

At 5:1 in price I'd say buy the cheaper one, learn to use pure manual focus and decide later whether the lenses justified the extra expenditure.

BUT at only 1.5:1, if even one of the lenses is useful you'll always be thinking - "for only 50% more / another 20€ I could have had the extra features".

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1  
This is very helpful, thank you very much. I will go for the AF confirm adapter ring! Will report back once it has arrived. –  myhd Aug 20 '12 at 10:48

Of course, you should purchase AF confirm adapter. I have both and I know, how convenient it is with AF confirm. You don't have to fiddle with Live View.

I will suggest you should buy AF confirm with EMF chip which is programmable. The normal AF confirm chip adapter cannot be programmed and comes pre-programmed which is stuck with single aperture setting at f/1.4 and so you cannot use Aperture Priority mode. I mean, with the adapter with EMF chip you can change the aperture and the camera will determine the exposure composition as well as shutter speed automatically. This is not possible with normal AF chip adapter. Moreover, you cannot change the focal length of the lens. EMF based AF confirm adapter are expense but worth the price and wait (got it from China through eBay).

Best of luck!

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I'm late to this question, but anyone else making a similar choice should consider that most modern DSLR's lack the optical focusing aids that were standard on manual focus cameras, and using an old lens on a new camera without some sort of aid may be more difficult than using the lens on the old camera.

Back before autofocus was a standard feature (or even a possible feature), most cameras had a split prism in the center of the focusing screen or an area covered in microprisms or both. The OP's grandfather's Bessamatic apparently had a split prism. When the part of the image behind these areas was out of focus, the image was distorted in an easily discernible way; when in focus, the image was clear:

out of focus in focus (Images by David Fischer)

Since DSLR's typically come with a plain matte focusing screen, you need some way to tell when the image is in focus. Options include:

  • live view: Generally fine for occasional use, but way too much trouble if you're going to use a manual-focus lens frequently.

  • different screen: In some cases, the manufacturer or a third party may sell alternative focusing screens that have features like a split prism or microprisms. These generally cost between $30 and $100.

  • AF confirm: Electronics built into an adapter ring that detects proper focus and relays the information to the camera so that the focus confirmation indicator turns on.

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I want to echo the value of the AF adapters vs. a plain adapter. I have several of both types, and while the exif data is fixed and therefore of little use (other than knowing i was using a legacy lens), the focus 'beep' I am able to get with the AF adapters on legacy lenses really does help me get the photos in focus. It also enables the use of both manual and aperture priority modes in my Canon cameras.

In my experience, the adapters without the AF chip are useful for adapting your lens only. The rest is up to you and in less than ideal conditions it can be tricky to nail down sharp shots.

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