By Don Lindich
Week 13, 2017
Q. Years ago I made the move from film to digital with a Canon digital SLR. I still have some excellent lenses from my film days, with an assortment of Pentax K and Olympus OM lenses. I would especially like to use my Olympus 300mm lens again. Do they make digital cameras for these lenses?
-J.H., Wayzata, MN
A. You can use your Pentax K lenses on Pentax digital SLRs, though based on the age of your lenses the automatic features may not work.
You can use the Olympus 300mm on your Canon SLR with a $16 Fotodiox Olympus OM to Canon EOS adapter. You will be operating fully manually for focus and exposure, but if you are willing to put in the extra effort you should get excellent results. The Olympus 300mm is an outstanding lens.
History repeating itself: About 10 years ago I wrote the first of many columns featuring the Insignia NS-B2111 bookshelf speakers. Sold exclusively at Best Buy, these stylish speakers used a carbon fiber woofer and sold for $59/pair when they were introduced, and $88/pair when they were discontinued several years later. They looked and sounded great even when price was not taken into consideration, and they were a smash hit in the audio enthusiast community. I regularly recommended them to anyone who had severe budget constraints or needed a second pair of speakers for a garage or bedroom. Many Sound Advice readers still remember them today. I recently received some fan mail from a longtime reader who mentioned the NS-B2111. He told me that between him and his friends, they bought 10 pairs!
The NS-B2111 made it possible to build a nice-sounding stereo system with receiver, turntable and CD player for $500 or less. Today, they sell on eBay for about twice what they sold for new. For years I hoped that Best Buy would bring them back, to no avail. It was really quite a loss and I thought we would never see the likes of such a wonderful budget speaker again.
I am happy (and surprised) to announce that the NS–B2111 finally has a legitimate successor. We have Sony to thank for this excellent development, with their Core SS-SC5 bookshelf speakers. They received positive reviews when introduced at $220/pair, but now the regular street price is $110/pair. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about what the NS-B2111 would sell for today if they were still in production.
The Core SS-SC5 is a 3-way bookshelf speaker with a Mica-Reinforced woofer. It is unusual to find a three-way bookshelf speaker at this price point, and even more unusual that it sounds so good. The listening experience is superior to the NS-B2111, with crisp, clear, slightly warm sound that never offends. They also provide good separation of instruments and effective stereo imaging. For $110, nothing comes close. You can buy them online and in many stores, including the previous home of the NS-B2111, Best Buy. Check them out the next time you visit one of their stores. Prepare to be surprised.
I don’t want to give the impression that these speakers are a replacement for audiophile quality bookshelf speakers from manufacturers like Axiom Audio, Chane, or SVS. If you can invest in such speakers, they are definitely the way to go and it is money well spent. But for those who are looking for good sound on the cheap or need some extra speakers, the Sony Core bookshelf speakers are in a class of their own.