Laurie MacKeigan
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  • Bennington, NH
  • United States
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At 5:36pm on September 12, 2012, Strider said…

Hi Laurie - I just read your intro, and I can help with figuring out how to set up for stopmotion - but I didn't want to write it on that thread, so I popped in here on your wall instead. 

You said you have a DSLR camera and some old manual lenses. That sounds perfect - that's exactly what you want, unless you have lenses that were made for that particular brand of camera and they communicate electronically with the camera's little fleabrain computer. What they refer to as manual often isn't really manual at all.

Do the lenses have actual focus rings and aperture rings that you turn and that physically adjust focus/iris?  (By physically I mean not via electronics through the camera, which is sometimes the case)

If there are electronic contacts on the back of the lenses and on the camera mount then what you'll need to do is disable contact there - can usually be done by simply partially unscrewing the lens - not even a quarter of a turn, more like a 16th of a full turn or even less - just until the contacts are no longer connected. Yes, it means your lens is no longer firmly 'clicked' in place - and that means you'll have to be careful so as not to let it turn the rest of the way and fall off - but since this is stopmotion and your camera is probably on a tripod or some kind of support already, and you shouldn't be manhandling it anyway in between taking frames, it should be do-able. 

The question is - when you partially unscrew your lens like this, can you still adjust focus and aperture? By turning the rings on the lens itself I mean. If you can, then the lens should work and you're good to go. If not, then it's not really a manual lens and you'll probably need to buy manual lenses made by a different company and use them with lens adapters. Really this is a better solution because the adapter prevents electronic contact and lets the lens click securely into place. If you do this stay away from Canon lenses - they aren't really manual at all - aperture cannot be controlled from the lens. Nikon/Nikkor lenses are excellent, as are Olympus and many other brands (sorry, I don't remember what make your camera is). 

Anyway - there's a discussion here that helps explain this stuff in better detail. I linked directly to where we start talking about Nikon lenses on a Canon - before that the discussion is about other stuff that's not as useful. 

Anyway - wow - sorry to overwhwelm you with info overload right off the bat! Feel free to start a thread asking about this subject if you want and I'll pick it up there (where future readers in your same situation will be able to benefit from it) as well as other people on the board being ble to pitch in too. 

I felt a certain kinship when you mentioned your daughter started off loving Gumby - that's what got me hooked way back in the beginning - though my next step was Harryhausen, not Corpse Bride. Heh - it would be many decades till Corpse Bride came out for me! 

Or accept my friend request and we can message back and forth about it. Anyway, I'm glad to help out. Welcome to SMA! 

At 6:02pm on September 12, 2012, Strider said…

Me again - I looked into your Olympus, and it sounds like a good choice. It does have live view, which is important, and allows full manual control over eveything, also a necessity. Check the Dragonframe page about it: http://www.dragonframe.com/camera.php#other

(scroll down to the Olympus cameras). Apparently the live view is analog rather than USB, so you need to get an analog/digital converter to get that signal into the computer for a framegrabber to use. My camera is the same way. When I get a little more time I can look up good and decently priced converters - you can get one for next to nothing. Well, under a hundred dollars anyway. 

You'll want to order an AC power adapter - don't want to drain your battery and suddenly run out of power halfway through a scene. Also some kind of remote trigger - if you do a google search you should be able to find both for your model of camera. 

Ok, enough for now. 

At 3:48pm on September 14, 2012, Strider said…

Yeah, I was watching the show - the original one, that came out in the 60's... there was a reboot that was made in the 80's and looked better than the old one. Wow those Gumby episodes could get really surreal at times! 

Ok, it does sound like you have exactly the right lenses - those definitely won't connect to the camera and try to auto-focus or anything! And yes, you will need to get a specific adapter for each one. You need to know what kind of mount they have - so you can get an adapter made for that exact mount. For instance, the Canon lenses -  do you know what model of camera they came from (specific model name, example I have an old Canon Rebel 2 I believe it's called - there might be even a more precise name for it that's a string of numbers - I don't know offhand, but I could look on the camera and find out). Or if you can list all the information given on the lens we might be able to determine that.  

One great thing about your camera - it has what's known as a 4/3s (four thirds) mount, and they're great for adapting just about any kind of older lens. 

Do you have an AC power adapter for that camera, that allows you to plug it into the wall and run it on AC electricity? The batery charger might also function as one, there might be a little cable that plugs into the charger and into a power socket in the camera. I've been looking online for a power adapter and haven't had any luck (though I did find an article where somebody made one - a little scary and it suggests that power adapters are hard to find for that camera - but you might be able to find somebody onthe board who would make one for you - there are a lot of really handy people - machinists and electronics experts etc around here). 

At 4:55pm on September 14, 2012, Strider said…

Mmmmmm... bad news I'm afraid - I've discovered why I can't find a power adapter for your camera. It seems it was made only to run on battery power, and no concession was made for the possibility of even using an adapter. Here's a quote:

Being a digital SLR, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that the E-520 supports a ton of accessories (with two notable exceptions). Here's a quick summary of what's available:

(list)

Two things not on the list include the aforementioned battery grip, and an AC adapter.

If you want to power the camera by plugging it into the wall (instead of using the battery), you're out of luck on the E-520.

From this page. 

It wouldn't be impossible to animate with battery power - if I was going to do that I'd be sure to get an extra battery and have one charging while I'm working so the next day I have one freshly charged. It looks like your battery at least lasts a good long time (650 pictures) - that's way mor ethan you'll need for any single shot, unless you plan on doing shots like twn minutes long!! 

Alternately, here's that page on making an adapter: http://www.instructables.com/id/Wall-mains-Power-for-an-Olympus-E-510Lin/

Looks pretty scary - but if you read the second-to-last comment under it (by evilution) he suggests a much better way - definitely the way I'd go if I were to try it. Just get an extra battery and gut it, put power terminals etc insode and fill with resin to make a dummy battery connected to the appropriate power supply source. That's beyond my abilities though - or at least it's something I'd have to mess with for a while to try to figure out and I'm afraid I'd fry a camera or two trying. So I'd definitely just see if you can animate on battery power. 

At 5:40pm on September 14, 2012, Strider said…

Ok, this should work - do the back of your canon lenses look like this - EF Mount - or like this - FD Mount?

At 9:34am on September 15, 2012, Strider said…

Ok, I've been digging some more, and I'm afraid I have more bad news. You might not be able to use Canon lenses at all on your 4/3 camera. You definitely can't use Canon EF mount lenses, because they don't have an aperture control on the lens and you'd be stuck working wide open (unless you have a Canon camera you can put the lens on and set the aperture, then unscrew the lens while holding down a certain button (I could look up which one) - then it will set the aperture and it will stay there when you move it to the other camera. Clumsy but do-able. 

I've been finding conflicting information about using FD lenses on an Olympus Evolt (4/3) camera. Let me just paste in a very enlightening couple of comments:

paul wheatland, Nov 10, 2009; 09:19 a.m.

As an owner of Olympus Evolt-500 and also Canon F-1 film camera, the Fourthirds cameras will not accept Canon FD glass because of complications involving the mount and the protrusions at the back of the lens. These two factors will interfere and possibly damage the mirror and gold contacts on the body. It is my understanding however that FD lenses can be used with micro fourthirds cameras with the following caveats: 2X crop factor, some cameras do not have EVF only a screen viewing at arms length, also cameras are diminutive, FD lenses are heavy and bulky, the cameras and adapters are quite expensive. These comments are my considered opinion and in no way mean that using FD optics on micro fourthirds is not possible.

Akira Sakamoto, Nov 10, 2009; 09:57 a.m.

The flange back (registration) of FD mount is 42mm and that of 4/3 is about 38mm (38.67mm, according to wikipedia). Theoretically a mount adapter of 3+mm thickness should enable an FD lens to focus at infinity on a 4/3 camera.

However, since FD bayonet on the camera is designed to stick into the lens, the actual flange is "in" the lens barrel as opposed to most of other mounts. I don't know how far the flange sticks into the lens, but I would bet 3+mm is not long enough to accomodate FD mount and 4/3 mount so that FD lens can focus at infinity. Similar diameters of both mount should interfere each other, which may be another hindrance.

If you think about using your FD lenses on a digital camera, micro 4/3 should be the only way to go. I found the smaller optical viewfinder of DX format DSLRs are not very comfortable to focus manually (without relying on the focus indicator), so the even tinier viewfinder of 4/3 camera should be a pain to focus manually. Using live view on a 4/3 camera is far more clumsy than on a m4/3 camera.

So it's hard to tell if an FD mount lens would work or not. But I did manage to find this adapter on ebay that says it will work but won'

At 9:38am on September 15, 2012, Strider said…

Wow - what heppened!!?? All that stuff I wrote is just gone!! 

Let me re-write it quickly:

To pick up where I left off.. "it will work but it won't focus to infinity. You don't need infinity focus since you're working on a tabletop, but then all this talk about possibly destroying the camera scares me. 

Personally I'd think about getting a type of lens that's definitely compatible with your camera. Here's a Nikon AI to Evolt adapter that is guaranteed to work and not damage your camera. It would mean getting a Nikon lens or two, but I really don't think you'll be able to get those Canonlenses to work. Canon lenses are notoriously bad for using manually for stopmotion. 

At 10:33am on September 18, 2012, Strider said…

Yes, you've got it exactly! The problem is that you have to move the camera and can't get it back exactly the same. 

One problem I can think of with using the battery - even if you have an extra to be charging as you work - I believe you're supposed to run a battery until it's completely drained before recharging, right? That's what they usually say about rechargables batteries. With my cordless drill for example that means I'll have my spare battery charging but keep o using the same one until the drill peters out. If you do that while animating it just suddenly won;'t be able to take another picture and ypu[ll have to change the battery. So I guess you'd want to try to estimate it fairly close - it says you can take 650 shots, so maybe when you're getting close to 500 go to the end of that shot and change batteries before the next shot. (I've been doing 5 second shots, animating at 12 frames per second, and it takes 60 frames to make one 5 second shot). 

Though I don't know how important it is to run the charge out completely before recharging, or what happens if you don't. 

I don't think Tiffen makes lenses, do they?  As far as I know they only make accessories for lenses, like filters. I'm thinking you might have a Tiffen filter on that lens and be seeing the name on that. They do make what they call Extender Lenses, whch are supplemental lenses that screw onto an existing lens like a filter would and turn it into a telephoto or wide-angle. I wonder if that's another Canon lens with a Tiffen filter of some kind on it?

You're quite welcome! I like doing this kind of research (found out it's actually an addiction, so I guess at least other people can benefit from my dopamine-fiend tendencies ) and I appreciate the chance to deepen and broaden my knowledge about lenses and adapters. A year ago I learned what I needed to knwo in order to get a set of legacy lenses (old manual lenses) for my Micro Four Thirds camera, and then I also learned a little bit from Nick about using NIkonlenses on a Canon (that's where I learned that Canon lenses really aren't good for stopmo). Now Im learning a bit about the Four Thirds cameras and lenses for them. If I keep this up one day Ill be an expert! 

At 10:39am on September 18, 2012, Strider said…

Oh - just to explain - the reason I wanted to knwo what kind of Canon lenses you had is because I thought there was a chance the Canon FD lenses (older manual SLR lenses from pre-digital days) might work better than the EF series, because they probably do have aperture rings. But from everything I keep reading, apparently they aren't any good either - at least not for your Olympus Four Thirds mount, because the back part of the FD lenses sticks back too far inside the camera and can damage the mirror inside. 

So I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Canon lenses just aren't good for us at all. 

At 10:40am on September 18, 2012, Strider said…

Oh, and happy birthday too!! 

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