Readers will remember that I tried out a TechArt Pro autofocus adapter for manual M-mount lenses during the Bièvres Photo Fair in early June. I’d borrowed the adapter from David Babsky and was under strict instructions not to attempt to upgrade the firmware. David had it working well with his a7rII and didn’t want to mess things up. I can sympathise.
Below: A quick experiment. The autofocus is actually very fast, although perhaps not as fast as with a native AF lens. But it is perfectly acceptable and it works reliably (so far). The willing subject is a European member of the Brough motorcycle community who had ridden over from, I think, Zuerich for the occasion. Click on these images to enlarge
I was using it with the latest a7III and encountered some difficulties. Occasionally the AF just wouldn’t work for no apparent reason. I surmised that the latest firmware — and, indeed, perhaps a newer adapter — might produce different results. As it turns out, I was right. I think.
The latest TechArt Pro with firmware version 6.0 is now in my hands and I took it out over the weekend to grab some sample shots. With the classic 50mm Zeiss Sonnar f/1.5 attached to the TechArt, the Sony is a compact and well-handling rig. If you have a few M-mount lenses lying around, the TechArt is a sensible alternative to native E-mount AF designs. At around £300 it’s cheaper than buying a new bagful of E-mount lenses
Over the weekend, while recovering from my 16-hour Hong Kong-Vienna-London flight, I took the TechArt Pro to Brooklands Museum to grab a few test shots. I was surprised to find the Brough motorcycle club in residence — they were starting a week-long programme of festivities, involving a trip on Sunday afternoon to the wonderfully named Piddletrenthide in Dorset followed by a full-blown Brough Rally at Middle Aston, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, on this coming bank holiday weekend (August 25-27, 2018). Sunday’s the day to go if you are interested in seeing a magnificent collection of Broughs.
Anyway, I met some old motorcycling friends, including my Nick from the motorcycle industry whom I’ve known for most of my working life but hadn’t seen for some years. I managed to get some rather interesting shots and I will be sharing them later in the TechArt review.
I suspect there’s a tendency to regard this adapter as something of a Heath Robinson device if you haven’t handled and used it. In the metal, however, the adapter is extremely well constructed and looks the business. It is anything but Heath Robinson and it successfully turns almost any M-mount lens (up to 700g) into a fast AF device.
It’s too early to reach a firm conclusion, but my efforts at the weekend were rewarding. Now I am aiming for some more experience. But so far, so good. I am impressed.
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