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I have a couple of Sony bodies and e.g. in A6400 I can use M42 lenses with automatically selecting shutter speed because I can change options like Release w/o Lens and Shutter lock. Alas, I can't manage this in the old A350. When I try to use any different mode from M, on the screen I see info:

No lens attached. Shutter is locked.

Is there any adapter for M42 ↔ Sony A mount on the market which informs a body is lens attached?

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  • Not a definitive answer, but looking through the manual, there's no mention of release without lens. The α350 was an entry-level body, and I suppose it was assumed that this feature wouldn't be needed by such users. I would expect this has to be a camera setting, and isn't simulated by a dumb adapter. The camera is trying to electronically communicate with the lens, and an adapter that could dupe the camera into behaving correctly as if a lens were attached would be a complex beast.
    – osullic
    May 1 at 13:24
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    An AF confirm chip might solve your problem, e.g. pixco.com.cn/products/m42-sony-silver-af-confirm-adapter (also sold on ebay etc.). I'm using something similar for Nikon.
    – user24582
    May 1 at 19:06
  • That looks like it might indeed do just what you want. I assumed that something much more elaborate would be needed to "fool" the camera
    – osullic
    May 1 at 19:49

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It appears you are using a "plain" M42 adapter, i.e. a piece of machined metal without any electronic components that enables the M42 lens to screw onto the Sony camera body, e.g. like this one (SKU: M42-SNA-P-V1):

An M42 to A mount adapter without an AF confirmation chip

This is fine for most cases. But, as the plain adapter does not communicate anything to the camera, the camera thinks there is no lens attached. Therefore, for this to work you must be able to instruct your camera that it is safe to fire the shutter without any lens attached.

As osullic writes in their comment the Sony A350 appears not to have such a release without lens override.

Per user24582's suggestion, you need to look at an adapter that has a small electronic "AF confirmation" chip attached onto it (note the strip of contacts in the upper left):

An M42 to A mount adapter with an AF confirmation chip

What this chip does is two-fold:

  • It tells your camera that there is a lens attached.
    • The characteristics of the attached M42 lens (focal length, aperture value) are not known to the chip (as the M42 lens cannot communicate those), so the chip always returns a pre-programmed value.
    • My (EOS) M42 adapter for example always makes it appear as if a 50 mm lens is attached with its aperture set to 1.4.
  • It allows your camera's AF feedback mechanism to work (partially).
    • The M42 lens has no motor and cannot be driven by the AF motor of the camera body, so you cannot fully autofocus the lens.
    • However, by manually turning the focus ring while half-pressing the shutter button (or whatever button you've set for the AF) you will get a confirmation (beep, or blinking light) when the scene is in focus.
    • Personally I found this a very useful feature, as without a split-prism focusing screen I found it hard to focus manually using a DSLR.
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