The Sony E Mount System is the newer of the two Sony lens mount systems. The first camera with this type of mount, the Sony NEX3, was launched in mid-2010. Sony E Mount cameras are so called “mirorrless digital cameras” with interchangeable lenses. This type of camera is characterized by the fact that they have a much shorter flange focal distance than conventional SLR cameras due to the omission of the mirror and the optical viewfinder. The Sony E Mount System has a flange focal distance of 18mm whereas the Sony A Mount System, which is a conventional system with mirror and optical viewfinder, has a flange focal distance of 44,5mm.
The short flange focal distance of 18mm makes the Sony E Mount System ideal for using old vintage analogue lenses. Theoretically you can adapt any lens of any analogue SLR or rangefinder camera. For example M42 lenses, Exakta EXA lenses, Minolta MD and Minolta MC lenses, Zeiss Ikonflex BM and many more.
This also uncludes lenses from digital SLR cameras of other manufacturere (Canon, Nikon). Thanks to the new technology of the latest generation of E Mount Cameras (Alpha 6300, 6500, 7II, 7SII, 7RII, 9), these not native lenses can even be operated fully automatically with autocous and communication between the camera and the lens.
The only hurdle to using lenses from analogue photography is the availability of an approriate adapter. This should be as precise ad possible in order to compensate the difference in the flange focal distance between the lens and the E Mount System as accutrately as possible. Unfortunately, for some camera systems with interchangeable lenses this adapter will not be available due to the small number of cameras and lenses produced. This includes, for example, the Altissa ALTIX system. Adapters for ALTIX to Sony E Mount are really rare. There are only a few handmade versions.
Since you can use almost any old analogue lens on a Sony E Mount camera, the following applies: “The best lens is the one already in the cabinet”.
Apart from that, there are of couse some analogue lenses that can be counted among the classics:
- Meyer Optik Goerlitz, Trioplan, 50mm f2.9
- Meyer Optik Goerlitz, Trioplan, 100mm f2.8
- Zenitar, Helios 44m-2,58mm f2
- Carl Zeiss Jena, Flektogon, 20mm f4
- Carl Zeiss Jena, Tessar, 50mm f2.8
- many more