50mm Surprise

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jimmycl, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. Jimmycl

    Jimmycl New to Mu-43

    May 8, 2015
    Real Name:
    Jim Lanzafane
    So I have been playing with my e-pl2 and some older legacy lenses that I collected thru the years, and was hoping to find a nice low light lens to shoot wide open...
    I was very surprised at my results with the lenses taken wide open...

    Konica 40mm 1.8 - Wanted to like this, even added the extra f2.2 notch between f1.8 and f2.8, but no dice. At 1.8 and 2.2, soft and flaring..

    Pentax 50mm 2.0 - Soft at f2.0, but really wants to be at 3.5 for decent

    Minolta 50mm 1.7 - Better than both previous lenses, but still, wants to be at 2.8 and up

    Konica 52mm 1.8 - About the same as the Minolta, and the same comments, but nice colors

    Nikon AIS 55mm 2.8 - At 2.8, sharper than all the others wide open, 1 stop down, better than all the above at any f stop.

    Nikon 50mm 1.8 AF-D - My surprise- better than all the previous lenses, and 1 stop down, about equal to the 55mm.

    I did not expect this type of result for the Nikon 50mm. Its not the best to manually focus, but when you nail it, pretty impressive. I used this on my d7000 and just forgot how good it can be, even though most test kind of brush it off.

    Realize this is only looking at comparing contrast and sharpness. As far as character goes, I still like the legacy stuff.
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  2. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    That is interesting. I do play with my Super Takumar 50mm/1.4 sometimes, but not as much as I used to before I had more native glass. I wonder how well it would fare in comparison.
  3. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I have a Nikon 50 1.8. It does render nicely. I get frustration with the focusing, though. The travel is just so short and the ring so tiny that I find it extremely hard to focus. I have a Nikon 50 f2 that seems to be almost as crisp and much, much easier to focus. I use it instead of the 1.8.
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  4. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    Look into the f1.4 lenses. You will get softness wide open, but sharpens up at f2. Compared this to your f1.8 lenses, which you will need to go to f2.8 to get sharpness. That's one whole stop of light right?
  5. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I have a Super-Takumar 50 1.4 for as well. It is one of my favorites. With the Super-Tak, though, you have to like the way it renders color. It is not necessarily true-to-life.
  6. NWright

    NWright Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2014
    Over the last month I've acquired:

    50/1.4 FD Canon SSC
    50/1.4 Minolta MD
    50/1.4 Super - Takumar
    100/2.8 FD Vivitar

    The Canon and Super Takumar are actually somewhat usable at 1.4 in some instances (low contrast scenes, primarily). Whereas the Minolta is very "glowy". By f2 all of the 50s are acceptably sharp for most portraits and are downright excellent by around 2.8 or 3.5.

    I've still got much experimentation ahead of me to truly understand the character ingrained into each of these classic lenses.
  7. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Look for a Nikon 50mm f1.8 AI/AIS for a better MF feel.

    If you are looking for a low-light solution, then you kinda owe it to yourself to get hold of a focal reducer of some sort. Makes all the aberrations smaller and gives you an extra stop of light.
  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    There's just no reason to use any of these when the 45mm f1.8 is $200 used. Absolutely destroys any of these manual options.
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  9. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nonsense. Plenty of reasons to use old glass.
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  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Tkbslc's comment is out of order and out of place.
    I have a couple of lenses who's centre sharpness beats my m.Zuiko 45mm, but even that isn't the point.
    Using these older 50s is enjoyable and the photos are different to the modern lenses in subtle or major ways : well worth the effort.
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  11. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Real Name:
    I disagree with Tkbslc when he says, "There's just no reason to use any of these when the 45mm f1.8 is $200 used....". I enjoy using legacy glass along with many others here. And the price is right. But I must agree with the next statement, "Absolutely destroys any of these manual options." The new lenses' tech specs blow the oldies out of the water. But the best result isn't always due to physical acuity.
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Ok, let me clarify. If you are looking for peak sharpness at wide apertures, as the OP's list of complaints seem to indicate - just get the 45mm.

    If you want a cheap-o lens and/or some romantic or nostalgic rendering, then go manual and don't pixel peep unless you stop down.

    I agree, "no" reason is a bit absolute and that was not my intent. I just think it odd the op went through so many lenses and likely spent more than a used 45 cost doing so.
  13. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Real Name:
    Andrew Lossing
    I have to agree that native options are far better than adapting old lenses. The sensor stack issue alone kind of handicaps legacy lenses. Not that I'm saying there isn't a reason to use them, but I'd hesitate to spend much on a non-native lens.
  14. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Jimmycl, as you might have inferred from the above banter, there are a couple of things that explains your result and can help achieve awesome results using old glass.

    As agentlossing said above, the mu43 sensor stack is a limitation of the platform for the purpose of using old glass. Its 4mm thick. Not so good for glass designed in the film era where there is no sensor stack.

    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/07/sensor-stack-thickness-part-iii-the-summary - is the summary for investigating the sensor stack and its effects. The take home message is this graph;


    As you can see, the red line - 4mm, representing m43 gets bad results below f2.8, and this on a perfect lens :( 2mm is the Sony line of mirrorless, and 1mm is Leica.

    However as my answer alluded to, you can make the red line into the orange line by using a Metabones Speedbooster which is one of the commonly available focal reducers. The Metabones implementation takes the 4mm sensor stack into account in its design effectively removing most, if not all effects. The upshot is that old glass can perform as good if not better than native glass.

    Just do a search on 'speedbooster' and/or focal reducer on this forum - plenty of results and discussion available.
  15. EricRose

    EricRose Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2014
    The upper 12
    Real Name:
    Eric Rose
    I love my Nikkor 50mm HC f2.0 lens on the GX-7. Razor sharp and fantastic colour.
  16. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Comparing tests of adapted lenses is a flawed endeavor!

    I say this because you always hear someone say, "My 50mm f1.x is great, even wide open," and then you go and buy and it and find out it's crap wide open. Basically, it's only useful if the opinion of "sharpness wide open" or amount of "glow" is made by the same person. So, props to the original poster for noting a few selections. I only wish you'd noted any of the ones that I've found to be the best! :( Samples work too, but you really do need a shot at f/1.8 as well as one at f2.2, f2.8, and f4 to reach a conclusion. Also, that test not should be not be of a close up subject IMO. When shooting these lenses wide open to test them, I always try to take a landscape shot where more objects are in focus.

    Anyway, the above is how I do it to tests lenses for my own use. I have quite a few myself:

    -Konica 40/1.8 - as the OP mentioned, unusable below f2.8, even if you add a stop at f2.2
    -Pentax 50/1.7 - Very good lens. F1.7 is usable, but only for closeup objects where the background is so blurry that you really can't tell that the subject is glowy and not so sharp. It's sharper wide open on a focal reducer.
    -Konica 50/1.7 - ditto the Pentax
    -Yashica 50/1.9 - worse at f1.9 than the above two at f1.7.
    -Canon FD 50/1.8 - Not as good as the Pentax and Konica 50s but better than the Yashica
    -Super Takumar 50/1.7 - Better at f1.7 than the two 1.7s mentioned above
    -Konica 57/1.4 - Useless IMO at f1.4. Very sharp at f4 or f5.6, and I forget how it was at f1.7 or so (and I've sold it)
    -Canon FD 85/1.8 - I bought this for full frame but at f1.8 on m4/3s it definitely beats the 50/1.7s mentioned above, but personally I would stop down (on full frame you can get away with f1.8 I'd guess).
    -Konica 55/3.5 macro, 135/3.5, 135/3.2, 200/4, Pentax 135/3.5, - all are very good but need to be stopped down 1/2 or a full stop.

    The best adapted lens I have wide open is the Vivitar 28/2 macro (Komine). Better stopped down but that's really useable at f2. I have a few more I haven't used enough to comment on.
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  17. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Yes absolutely ;
    I have quite a few old lenses and some surprise me with their crappiness or gooness compared to other reports,
    and I found something very interesting ;
    Fitting your range of old lenses on a different system body (for example Sony A, Sony NEX or Fuji X) can turn the tables on your previous results!
    My old Jupiter was OK on m4/3rds, dismal on my Fuji X-E1, and quite decent in the shop on an A7 ... while my ripped-off Yashinon is even better on my Fuji than my m4/3rds bodies.

    Those for whom testing is no fun should really avoid these types of threads ...
  18. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Real Name:
    I have a yashica F2 that is quite nice. It's so easy to focus. My olympus 45mm rarely gets used for some reason. Perhaps it just all the plastic compared to the beautiful glass in many of my lenses.
  19. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Real Name:

    The other issue is lens to lens variation. Not only did the design and coatings change over time and the IQ changed too, many of these old lenses have been through more than their share of mishaps (falls, drops, etc). There are variations from lens to lens with the modern chinese made olympus lenses. The variations of these old classics is even higher in my experience.

    I had an Olympus 50/1.4 (with a serial number > 1000000) which was a gem of a lens and as sharp as the FD 50/1.4s I had. I sold it. The new Zuiko 50/1.4 I bought later with a serial number > 1000000 Iis noticeably less sharp than my FD 50/1.4s and Nikkor 50/1.4s. The M.Zuikos for F.Zuikos 50/1.4s I have owned with low serial numbers were definitely not very good wide open.

    My favorite and most consistent Old 50/1.4 has been the new Canon FD 50/1.4s.