Sound Advice: Harman/Kardon makes for an ideal stereo receiver
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Question: I need a stereo receiver, and there are not many around these days. What do you recommend?
Answer: Though most of the market has gone to A/V surround sound receivers, there are still stereo receivers to be had. One in particular is a standout.
One of the best buys in audio is the Harman/Kardon HK 3490 stereo receiver. The HK 3490 and its predecessors have long been on the recommended components lists of high-end magazines, and for good reason. The HK 3490 provides 120 watts of high current power that can drive most any speaker, including exotic designs, it has a phono input for a turntable, and it looks good and sounds even better.
A few years ago I personally installed the similar HK 3485 for a reader who had purchased a pair of high-end Ohm Walsh 3000 speakers. You can read the story at http://tinyurl.com/dyo7es3, where I reported that even when used with a $4,000 pair of speakers, the Harman/Kardon performed beyond reproach.
The Harman/Kardon HK 3490 has an manufacturer's suggested retail price of $449 but can be found for $300 online. It's a great way to get started with high-quality audio and will grow with you as you upgrade your system.
Question: I have my father's 1953 Exakta camera. It included several excellent lenses, such as an Angenieux Paris fisheye, a Steiheil Munchen lens and a Zeiss lens. I'd really like to be able to use them on my Canon cameras, a Digital Rebel and a 5D Mark II.
I have been told there are adaptors for the Exakta lenses, which will allow them to work with the Canon. I have checked places in China, the Philippines and India, and I cannot find adaptors. Experts at camera stores in the Twin Cities tell me there are no adaptors for my cameras.
Can you direct me to a source where I can purchase these adaptors?
St. Paul, Minn.
Answer: The camera stores are correct: There are no Exakta-to-Canon digital SLR adaptors. It is hard enough to adapt more common manual focus lenses to autofocus mounts, and the Exakta lenses you have are extremely obscure at best. What's more, your 5D has a very large sensor that is the same size as an entire frame of 35 mm film. Full-frame digital sensors are extremely demanding and typically require the very best late-model lenses to produce good results. I doubt you would be happy with the old lenses on the 5D Mark II, though they may be passable on the smaller sensor Digital Rebel (if you could adapt it at all).
If you want to use your lenses on a modern camera, they can be adapted to Micro Four-Thirds cameras. The Micro Four-Thirds lens mount has proven itself to be very amenable to adapting lenses, and many small manufacturers now offer adaptors for most every kind of lens, including Exakta mount. You can find adaptors on eBay or at www.cameraquest.com/adp_micro_43_fd.htm. The effective focal length doubles and you will have to meter and focus manually, but the lenses will work.
The Olympus E-PL1 body sells for $150 and would be a good way to get started. You also may want to consider a refurbished E-PL1 kit with a zoom lens for $199 so you have a modern lens to use as well.
First Published April 15, 2012 12:00 am