Why Don't Native Lenses have Aperture Rings?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by klee, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    My legacy Pentax lenses have a switch for auto and manual aperture via the aperture ring, why can't they do that on M43 lenses?
  2. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    I'd love it if they did, but probably a whole variety of reasons they don't. I'd say to keep costs down and slim down the lens and having it operate electronically. A large amount of lenses (not just µ4/3) are focus by wire and have electronic aperture control. For better and worse, lenses have become partial electronic gadgets. If the AF motor breaks, you'd still be out of luck without non-focus by wire lenses even if you had an aperture ring. I'd love to have all of my µ4/3 lenses to have manual aperture rings + non-focus by wire... but once I consider I can carry 5 lenses in my everyday carry bag and have room for lunch in there- the size is pretty nice. I will say that focus by wire has come a long way in the last few years, it's way more responsive now that it used to be (I hated focus by wire for the longest time), but spinning a dial isn't nearly a rewarding feeling as clicking that aperture ring into place.

    On a slightly half related note: I own a CV Nokton 25mm f.95, for a lot of people not having auto focus is a deal breaker (which I can understand, although I'm fine/like manual focus), but it's not like they can just throw it in the lens and call it good. It would certainly not be f.95, and would be much larger and expensive to fit the AF motors etc in there. On the back of the lens, the rear element is larger than all of the other native AF µ4/3 lenses- because it partially covers an area where the AF connectors would normally go.
  3. Mechanical versus Electronic implementation of aperture.

    The KA-mount Pentax lenses still use mechanical form of aperture control. If you look closely at Pentax SLR mounts, you will see a mechanical linkage that engages a lever on the back of the lens mount. There's also another lever that rotates as the aperture ring is turned used to communicate aperture ring position to the camera for wide open aperture metering. Pentax maintained a "crippled" form of their K-mount design to keep some level of backwards compatibility. Note: regular K-mount lenses do not have the "A" positioning for their aperture.. .meaning that aperture control cannot be delegated to the camera body. No wide open metering.

    Honestly, I feel that there is a lot of advantages to electronically controlled apertures mechanisms that outweigh the disadvantages. Of course, this makes it difficult to adapt these electronic lenses to other systems that don't "speak" their language.

    Of course, its possible to have a fly-by-wire type of aperture control on the lens. But that would probably add cost to manufacturing and MFT market seems a bit sensitive to price point of products.
  4. ptolemyx

    ptolemyx Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 19, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Although I like the idea of a Fuji X - style aperture ring on M43 primes, I wonder whether I'd prefer it in reality to the convenience of a dial placed directly under my thumb or forefinger (as it is on the E-M5).

    I suppose if I shot in manual more often, I'd appreciate being able to use one of those wheels for something else... but in A or S, I don't feel like I need it. (Then again, maybe that's why I don't use M regularly.)
  5. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    That's one of the cool things about the XZ-1/XZ-2 when shooting in "Aperture" priority mode. You can use the ring to on the lens to quickly change aperture. :cool:
  6. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    I loved it on the FourThirds Panasonic DMC-L1, and I had hoped it would catch on with Olympus. Back when I used film I had the shutter and aperture already said before looking through the viewfinder and seeing what the meter said.

    Sadly it seems that customers didn't like it, and Panasonic abandoned it with their next model, the DMC-L10.

    I don't think this is something we'll be seeing on Micro FourThirds!
  7. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It isn't just m4/3! Both Nikon and Canon are abandoning aperture rings on their lenses. Canon has completely and Nikon has on all "G" series lenses. I personally would like the ring but can live without it.

    What I don't like is the focus by wire crap! Finding closest or infinity focus can be a chore and the feel is all wrong. I basically use my m4/3 lenses as AF only and switch to legacy glass for manual focus.
  8. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Quite right. Lenses with aperture rings are the exception and not the rule in all lenses. My pro Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II had no aperture ring and it was a $2000+ lens.
  9. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    I much prefer aperture rings. Not only does it permit direct control, but you can see exactly where you are set. Also darned useful if you mount your lens on a system with no electronic coupling. (BMC anyone?)

    If someone was to come out with a series of small, fast, beautiful, manual-focus only lenses with aperture rings I would sell everything else and buy them.

    I wish the Fuji X cameras didn't have so many limitations. I'd be tempted to switch. OK, maybe it's just as well they have those limitations!
  10. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Somebody has: ever hear of Leica?... :tongue:
  11. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Right. I think what I found to enjoy with shooting legacy glass is the visual/tactile feedback. I can just glance to see what my aperture is set to. With native lenses, I often have to wake up the camera.

    Focus by wire is TERRIBLE with the kit 12-50mm and 20/1.7 which are the only 2 native lenses I have.

    I wish there were a great native scale focusing lens... I hear the 17/1.8 is the closest, but I can't afford it, which is why I bought the 20
  12. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    iAuto is pretty useless without all the automation or user over-rides. Gotta please the masses, too.
  13. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland

    OK, let me add... native to MFT. That I can afford.

    Besides, I prefer the Zeiss look. Which, I recently discovered, is also the Olympus look. Check out Tandoori Lens Summit.
  14. Back when film cameras became increasingly more electronic, everyone marveled at the digital displays within the viewfinders reporting the set aperture. It allowed for aperture read and adjustment without pulling the camera away from your eye.....

    Guess no one here remembers....

    I bet many wishing for an aperture ring would be he first to point out any increase in pricing to cover the cost. I personally glad that there is no aperture ring because it keeps cost down.
  15. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    For me, ESPECIALLY the "I can afford" part, lol.
  16. Yup. ... There it is... Price
  17. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    You could do that with a Nikkormat FTn and others in the 1960's. Actually I think the top of the line F's could do that as well, the Nikkormat's were "down market".

    Nikon had a second aperture scale read by a little window looking down on the lens. We've been able to see aperture in the viewfinder and set it without taking the camera from our eyes since at least the 1960's without electronics being involved so I don't know as I think your comment is really relevant to the "vanishing aperture ring", lol.

    I was shooting in the 1960's so some of us DO remember.
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Among those limitations is that the aperture control is 'by-wire' meaning that you can't control the aperture mechanically.

    Outside of a few boutique manufacturers - Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss, mechanical aperture rings are dead.

    Fortunately, Nikon, Pentax and Sony A mount lenses do actually control the aperture mechanically, so all-mechanical adapters work fine with them. Canon EF, 4/3 and mirrorless mounts are the ones with full electronic control.
  19. Yup.. I recall a few that would mirrors and such... The point is that electronics made it possible across all levels o cameras from professional to entry at a reasonable cost.

    People forget that and to wish otherwise is backwards progress. Its like people wishing for a cloth shutter just so they can hear it while expressing the need for high shutter and sync speed in he same breath.

    Quiz... Which system has an electronic aperture diaphragm and a mechanical aperture ring?
  20. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    My Nikomat{asian market nikkormat} FT only had shutter speed and exposure meter gauge in the viewfinder. However if you knew the lens it was easy to count from the largest f-stop to where you were by the clicks.
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