135mm or crop 75mm?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by tkbslc, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I was kind of looking for a relatively cheap prime to use when I'd like to go longer than the 75mm f1.8.

    With as good as the 75mm f1.8 is, am I going to be just as well off cropping as using an older film 135mm?

    So I guess the question is, should I bother with a 135mm at all? And if so, what are your recommendations for a compact 135-150mm that is going to look really sharp without stopping way down?
  2. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    How fast is fast / compact is compact / sharp is sharp for you? Under 2.8 I can think of the old MF Nikkor 135mm F2, Pentax SMC 135mm F2.5, Vivitar S1 135mm F2.3.

    I have the Vivitar 135mm 2.8 Close Focusing, I like it a lot, but it's not small at minimum focus and it's not the lightest lens I own. At 2.8 it has some CA which is mostly confined to very bright highlights, contrast can be a bit mucky and it doesn't take use with a flash well there. But it's nothing that renders it unusable or anything and it makes a neat long pseudo-macro (to 1:2). Old, cheap, longish, small, sharp, fast lenses are maybe not the smallest of asks :D
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I'd be fine with 2.8 or 3.5. Never actually said "fast" in my OP, but if I have to be at f5 for sharp shots I might as well pick up a native m4/3 kit telephoto.

    I'd probably be more inclined to go 3.5 for size if I can get one that is good right at f3.5. If I crop a 75mm to 135mm, I'm going to get sharp, slightly noisy 5MP shots with f3.2 equiv DOF, so I guess that's my benchmark to beat.
  4. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    My experience with the M42 Pentax SMC Takumars taught me that most of them were quite soft compared to native lenses and many had a lot of CA.
    However, I did not have a 135 or 150mm; I did have a 105mm f2.8 (compact) and it was quite soft. The 200mm f/4 was sharper (but very large).

    I've heard good things about the Olympus OM and Pen F lenses, but they are getting expensive.

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
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  5. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    There's a 135mm/2.8 Tamron Adaptall (you can get reportedly find Adaptall->Mu43 adapters on eBay) listed at

    I don't know anything about these, and the sample images are too small to judge sharpness, but the price seems attractive.

  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    And a Sears 135mm/3.5 even cheaper, with an m42 mount:

    I'm guessing that's a Tamron Adaptall or a similar Vivitar design, based upon the fact that it has an adapter on it already for m42.
    Note that Sears almost never made their own stuff; most items were just popular brands/items re-branded by Sears. (except for Craftsman hand tools; usually Sears exclusive afaik)

  7. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Anyways, if you do buy something, please post comparisons between the 75mm and the new lens.

  8. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The Olympus 135mm f3.5 was a good lens, it got far more use than the f2.8 version (it had the same 49mm filter as most other lenses). It's the same basic design as every other 135mm lens of the era, none of them are really all that much different and it mostly comes down to coatings and sample variance tbh. Get one in good condition and it's likely to be better than one in poor condition.

    As for if it's better than the 75mm or not, it's a big jump in focal length however the 75mm is a stellar performer. Personally I wouldn't bother with the adapted and would go for the autofocus and crop every time, it's going to be more reliable and more user friendly every time and who really needs 16 megapixels of resolution anyway?
  9. EdH

    EdH Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    Devon, UK
    The Konica Hexanon 135mm f3.2 is a lovely lens. It's MFD is about a metre too, which is unusually short for a 135mm. It can be pretty good at f3.2 and it isn't too big.

    The 135s were pretty difficult to use on my E-PM1 but the E-P5 with 5-axis IBIS and stabilised view have made it a pleasure.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
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  10. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I've got both the Asahi 135 and 200...I don't use them much. PM me if you're interested in them...The 135 takes a special m42 adaptor that doesn't have a shoulder, so that the aperture pin doesn't interfere (I use a helicoid m42 to m4/3 and it also gives you the benefit of changing the close focusing distance for more DOF). Both lenses are great, I'd just rather shoot with my 75mm. Both are in excellent condition. What's nice about the two lenses, is that they share the same hood.
    135 f2.5 (with helicoid)
  11. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    A fast 135mm with MF is a real handful, especially with a non-stabilized view (as is unfortunately the case with our GX7s, even if the stabilization works okay when the shot is taken).

    I do have a Canon 50-135mm f3.5, but I only got it to use with my cheap focal reducer, giving me a $60 35-100mm f2.5. It's actually a pretty nice lens and has a very pleasant film-y look to it...but even still, I find the long end has limited uses, and that's only 100mm not 135mm.


    Part of my issue may also be that it's a heavy lens - about 650g, so a 135mm/3.5 that weighs 1/3 that might end up being more pleasant to use, even if it's not particularly flexible or easy.
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  12. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    In the lower price range you'd probably better off with Oly 40-150 or Panasonic 45-150 if you need lens based IS. You need to spend a lot of money on a legacy lens to outperform either of those and they're as small as most legacy 135's.

    If you're looking for "character" an uncoated Leitz Hektor 135/4.5 ( I think it was 4.5) in Leica screw mount is nice. The old Nikkor 135/3.5 Leica screw mount is a little nicer with with very smooth bokeh.

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  13. Jcarrith

    Jcarrith Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 26, 2012
    I have the 2.8 Tamron Adaptall. It is very sharp from f4.0. 2.8 is a little soft but usable

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Mu-43 mobile app
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  14. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I would think that a lot of those 135 would be similar in size and weight to the Olympus 40-150/2.8 PRO or the Panasonic 35-100/2.8. I know they are not cheap, but they are so good at f/2.8 - you really are getting prime type performance out of them.

    In that thinking - you'd get the primes for all those other focal lengths as well.
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  15. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Well, the Olympus 135/3.5 is half the length and 1/3 of the weight of the 40-150/2.8 even with the OM-M4/3 adapter attached. Much more comparable to the 35-100/2.8, though that one also has a shorter focal length, and is encroaching pretty closely on the likes of the 75/1.8 that he already has.
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  16. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    If you're cropping to around 135mm any name-brand 135mm lens will blow a 75 out of the water! If you crop the 75, you'll end up with about a 5 MP image, so there goes half of your vertical/horizontal resolution. With the 135 you'll have 16 MP. If 5 MP is fine, however, then I guess you'd be good.

    If you were comparing the 75 to an old 85 I would say to go ahead and crop, especially considering how expensive fast 85mm lenses are. You can get any of the 135/3.5 lenses I have: Pentax, (tiny! Sharp) Konica (small, fun, sharp), Canon (haven't used much), Konica 135/3.2 (just as good but bigger and premium price because of closer focus). Each one of those was under $50. The Canon 135/2.5 is pretty big so I don't recommend that. The Vivitar 135/2.8 macro is short but thicker and long if in macro mode. I have that Vivitar as well as the Vivitar 135/1.8 which is much smaller and lighter. I have like six 135mm lenses so if you're interested PM me!

    Next is depth of field. If you shoot the 75 at f2 and 135/3.5 at f4 where it's sharp, considering you're cropping and nearly dividing the pixels by 4, you'll get a very similar amount of background blur. But, in daylight, the 75 might require a 1/8000 shutter speed or else an ND filter to achieve this. The 135 would be 2 stops slower. Yes, the 75 would be much better in low-light, but considering you'd be getting 16 MP with the 135, you could bump the ISO and downsize the image to match.

    Regarding the 40-150mm f4-5.6, sure, it's a good lens. Will cost on average $130 shipped. I have one and use it at times. But as far a portrait shots it's not too impressive. Plus it's not so sharp up over 100mm. I use it when I go to say a zoo with my family and photography isn't the main goal. Autofocus to easily snap photos of people. The times I've taken a 135 to the zoo, however, the shots have been fabulous. Plus the fact that it doesn't zoom forces me into some unique compositions!

    Get a 135 and an adapter. You'll be happy you did!
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  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Okay, coming back to this again and I think I want to pick up a 135mm, but I'm not in a huge hurry. I'll wait for the right lens/price to come around.

    When I said "cheap" above, I didn't mean like a $5 yard sale find. I'm kind of hoping for around $100 +/-? Obviously less is better, but I want the best mix of size/weight/IQ that I can get.

    Smallest I think I've found so far is the SMC Pentax M 135mm 3.5. Seems decent based on samples. CZJ 135mm 3.5 looks better, but is it large?

    I tried the 2x digital TC with the 75mm and it works in a pinch, but there is some funky noise/JPEG artifacts if you look even a little closely.
  18. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Depending on exactly your criteria, there's also the Pentax M 120mm f2.8. Same weight, tiny bit shorter, and f2.8 instead of f3.5 in exchange for the 15mm of focal length.
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  19. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I have the Tair 11, 135,2.8 that is supposed to be a very sharp lens. It's ok, but I'm not sure a cropped 75 image wouldn't be better. Nailing manual focus is a prerequisite and it isn't easy despite the EVF aids. If your not skilled at manual focus, you may be better off cropping the 75.

    They can be cheap enough to though that it spdoesnt hurt to try an old lens and just re-sell it if you don't like it. How about a Kiron/Vivitar/Lester Dine 105mm macro, or a sigma 150mm manual focus macro? They're both very sharp, f2.8, and would do dual duty as excellent macro lenses since they're two of the best. More bang for the buck...just a thought.
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  20. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    While those lenses may be excellent, they're also all very large and heavy. The Tair 11 is 600g, the Lester Dine is 650g, the Sigma 150mm is 900g (!). Given the rest of the kit that tkbslc has assembled, it certainly appears that size and weight is a priority, so I could see how getting 90% of the image quality with one of the Pentax's at 30% of the weight would be appealing.
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