I'm looking for a cheap, second hand digital camera body for my M42 lenses. And I'm stuck; there is actually quite some choice. Currently, I have a Canon EOS 300D; there are two reasons I want to change:

  1. Manual focusing is problematic. The focusing mechanism of 300D is not very good, so focus hint is not useful; and the small and dark viewfinder makes manual focusing not reliable.
  2. ISO 400 is the most that gives somewhat useful pictures, but even that is already noisy.

I have a collection of CZJ M42's which are not bad at all, and two medium-priced Minolta AF (MAF) mount lenses that I'm currently not using but would like to try. I am considering the following bodies, all in the range 100-150 EUR second hand on eBay, and I can't decide:

  1. Konica Minolta 7D.
    • PROS: Large, good pentaprism viewfinder will make focusing easier; all important functions accessible through knobs, dials and buttons on the body; in-body image stabilisation; I could use my MAF lenses with this camera.
    • CONS: apparently, it is not straightforward to use the AF-confirm and anti-shake feature with an adapter, the adapter must report the correct focal length of the lens (which cannot be set manually). Performance at ISO over 400 is not v. good. Also, it is large and heavy.
  2. Pentax K10D or K100D.
    • PROS: many people think that Pentax is ideal for M42. All functions like AF-confirm, metering, anti-shake work with any dumb adapter.
    • CONS: small, unimpressive pentamirror viewfinder (in the case of K100D). Poor performance at ISO > 400. I will not be able to use my MAF lenses.
  3. Canon 20D.
    • PROS: large, good pentaprism viewfinder (but smaller than that of Minolta). Good accessibility to functions. High ISO performance not better than Minolta. A simple chipped adapter works perfectly with M42 (AF-confirm works).
    • CONS: I cannot use my MAF lenses. No image stabilisation. Image quality no better than Minolta. And, I don't like Canon (yeah, that is a valid point for me).
  4. Sony NEX-3.
    • PROS: much better performance at high ISO than any of the previous. Great AF hinting (focus peaking). Small size, with a pancake can be carried around like a small compact. More modern than the previous. Tilt screen allows close-to ground photos or photographing people inconspicuously.
    • CONS: No viewfinder (that would be my first camera without a viewfinder). Will the focus peaking work better than the small viewfinder of the 300D? No image stabilisation. Cannot use MAF lenses (well, it can, but the adapter would cost more than the camera). Small size makes it unwieldy with large lenses (like my Sonnar 200/2.8). And: no viewfinder.

Help? Please?


I use M42 and pentak K lenses on my Canon 40D with precision matte focus screen and it works really well with the EMF programmable adaptor chips (some of them even allow you to use tracking AF modes), but if I had to get a camera specifically for that purpose I'd get pentax, where of course K5 with a would be a better but more expensive choice, but K10D is a good cheap choice with a good resolution 10MP and pentaprism viewfinder.

As for Minolta it sounds like it is a no-go based on your own cons, and Sony "live view" camera I cannot recommend. While it is sometimes handy to live view focus, it is quirky and takes away from the vintage feel, and makes you look like a dork as well. These lenses were made when you had to put your face up to the viewfinder and adjust the aperture ring, focus ring, and exposure. You need a good bright viewfinder and a good focusing screen.

It is easy to exchange it on the K10D , see HERE

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