Best digital camera for vintage lens (Olympus OM mount) shooting

ibd

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I'm playing with the idea of getting a 2nd camera body that I'd mostly use to shoot photos with manual vintage lenses.
I've got a Konica Hexanon lens, a C-mount lens, and the Olympus OM 50mm f/1.4. I'm thinking about getting the Olympus OM 24mm and 85mm (f/2) lenses.

While m4/3 is nice in that almost anything can be adapted to it, the crop factor gets old fast. Even with a focal reducer, you'll not get below 1.5x effective crop.

Points I consider:
- Should be fun to use, needs good ergonomics
- Probably JPEG output is all I'd use, creative filters a plus
- Don't care about video
- Don't care about AF or burst speed
- Should be a small body to match small Olympus OM lenses :)
- Price: USD 500 or less

I'm looking at the "older" Fujifilm APS-C bodies (still much more recent than the lenses I'd use on it!), for example the X-T2. It seems to have some nice creative options in-camera. It can be had for around USD 500 used. There are focal reducers that allow you to get 1x effective crop (although that would bump the total price to over USD 700).
The original Sony a7 also falls in a similar price range, but from what I read online, it'd probably offer less of a "fun" experience compared to the Fuji.

Any input welcome.
 
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In my limited experience, I found that my stabilised mu43 bodies (GX7, GX8, GX9, EM10 mkII) handled legacy lenses more easily than Fujifilm bodies (XE1, XE2, XT1, XT100), due to IBIS. I really wanted Fujifilm to work for me as a legacy lens shooter, but I need all the help I can get to stabilise! YMMV.
 

kinlau

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My Sony A7S is my vintage lens body which also doubles as my Astro camera.

Fullframe mirrorless has the added advantage of using Leica mount lenses, which I also have a few of (nothing exotic).

The handling is just so-so, but I also shoot with ancient cameras like a Leica III, so it’s all relative.
 

tkbslc

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I would say you want a larger sensor than 4/3 for adapting old 35mm film lenses. Unless you are specifically after telephoto or macro. Even a 20mm film lens isn't wide on m4/3, and that was crazy UWA in the film era.

I really like the handling and price of Fuji cameras and they have great focus aids for manual lenses. You can go with an X-E2 for like $250, use the latest firmware that turns it into an X-E2s. You still have a 1.5x crop, so wide angle is still a bit of a problem, but you could go with something like a Samyang 12mm f2 if you need real wide. Or there are focal reducers. With the film simulations, you can shoot JPEG and have a lot of fun.

Keep in mind there are some pretty good modern Chinese and Korean lenses out there. Often better than adapting old film lenses. For example, the 7 Artisans 35mm f1.2 is practically a pancake and only $140. Good enough wide open, and really good by f1.8. That's cheaper than a film 35mm 2, over a stop faster, and is as small as the lens adapter. And you'd want to compare modern AF options, too. Viltrox 85mm f1.8 AF is not going to cost you any more than an Olympus OM 85mm f2, and it has AF and is actually really sharp from wide open. Old Zuikos are good, but they aren't THAT good.

If you already had a nice film lens collection, then I'd argue you might want to look at FF. But if you are just building one, then I'd probably go Fuji and pick your lenses around the crop factor, mixing in modern lenses where it makes sense.
 

wyk

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An old A7 is dirt cheap right now for FF.
For crop, I would go with a used X-Pro1. Dirtier cheaper, and feels fantastic to use, most people love the jpegs.
I dunno how good the peaking is for manual focusing, tho.
 
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ac12

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As other said, if you are using 35mm film lenses, IMHO, you really want a FF camera, or you have to deal with the crop factor effect.

I would only use m4/3 if you WANT the crop factor effect.
Like using a 500mm lens and getting 20x magnification.

edit: And FF to make best use of the image circle of the lens.
 
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retiredfromlife

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while not exactly answering your question the below is my general experience with adaptorsin case you fall in love and want to try a variety of lens mounts.

I was considering a Fuji body but decided to stick with Mu-43 for the time being since I dont use old vintage lenses that much

A flat fronted camera is best for large diameter lenses, I use the Oly E-P5.

I have found that my Oly bodies handle adaptors beter than my Panasonic G85. for example my worst adaptor the "C" mount version for Fugian lenses is way to tight on my G85 to even fit, but is buttery smooth on my Oly bodies. But is may be due to the brand of adaptors I have ended up with, which the these "C" adaptors I have no idea.
 

Erich_H

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I'm playing with the idea of getting a 2nd camera body that I'd mostly use to shoot photos with manual vintage lenses.
I've got a Konica Hexanon lens, a C-mount lens, and the Olympus OM 50mm f/1.4. I'm thinking about getting the Olympus OM 24mm and 85mm (f/2) lenses.

While m4/3 is nice in that almost anything can be adapted to it, the crop factor gets old fast. Even with a focal reducer, you'll not get below 1.5x effective crop.

Points I consider:
- Should be fun to use, needs good ergonomics
- Probably JPEG output is all I'd use, creative filters a plus
- Don't care about video
- Don't care about AF or burst speed
- Should be a small body to match small Olympus OM lenses :)
- Price: USD 500 or less

I'm looking at the "older" Fujifilm APS-C bodies (still much more recent than the lenses I'd use on it!), for example the X-T2. It seems to have some nice creative options in-camera. It can be had for around USD 500 used. There are focal reducers that allow you to get 1x effective crop (although that would bump the total price to over USD 700).
The original Sony a7 also falls in a similar price range, but from what I read online, it'd probably offer less of a "fun" experience compared to the Fuji.

Any input welcome.
Nobody's mentioned the Samsung NX300. APS-C. Cheap legacy lens adapters available.
 

wyk

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As other said, if you are using 35mm film lenses, IMHO, you really want a FF camera, or you have to deal with the crop factor effect.

I would only use m4/3 if you WANT the crop factor effect.
Like using a 500mm lens and getting 20x magnification.
Or using a 50mm lens and getting A 100mm or 75mm portrait lens with great DOF
 

ibd

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I see that the FF Sony cameras could be a good fit, but I would miss the creative JPEG shooting modes that Fujifilm offers.

Regarding the handling, I'd like to have at least back and front wheels to quickly set shutter speed, exposure comp., and ISO.

Regarding the APS-C crop factor, there are focal reducers from Metabones, Zhongyi, or Viltrox (just like on m4/3) to get to around 1x effective crop. But optical quality of the output always degrades with these. So maybe what I'm looking for doesn't exist...
 

Taz trooper

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Since you're on a Micro 4/3 website, if you use Micro 4/3, then with an adapted lens and with the 2x crop factor what you lose at the bottom end, you gain at the top end.
So, for instance you can have a good f2.8 270mm equivalent, or good f4 400mm equivalent, aided with good IBIS on modern cameras.
Micro 4/3 probably has the widest range of adaptors available as well. And any 'defects' on the outside of the lens are lost because you're only using the centre circle.

However by the time you've got an adaptor and an OM lens on front of the camera do note that the dynamics will be a bit different. You've got a heavy adaptor, and then your adapted lens, so it's not quite so micro...
You can overcome that by using L39/M39 lenses, where you have a much smaller flange distance, so a far smaller adaptor, but you'll pay for that advantage.

Anyhow, go ahead and enjoy it - Slow down and manually focus, magnify to check, and enjoy photography like it used to be, like when a two week holiday would be 2 x 36 exposure films - making every shot count...
I've got a good selection of legacy lenses, and do sometimes have some fun with adapted lens - I recently had a day with just my Hoya 24mm f2.8 PK on my E-PL3 - a nifty fifty equivalent.
 

ibd

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Today I remembered that the Nikon Df exists. Would have been a great contender, but the Nikon F flange distance is JUST above the Olympus OM flange distance (46.5mm vs. 46mm), making infinity focus unlikely.

There seem to be manual workarounds, but not without limitations:

Here's to hoping Nikon will make a Df II for their new Z mount.... :)
 

Erich_H

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Today I remembered that the Nikon Df exists. Would have been a great contender, but the Nikon F flange distance is JUST above the Olympus OM flange distance (46.5mm vs. 46mm), making infinity focus unlikely.

There seem to be manual workarounds, but not without limitations:

Here's to hoping Nikon will make a Df II for their new Z mount.... :)
Yes. Everything with a mirror housing will make your life difficult. And your C-mount lens would be tragically orphaned. The Olympus lens would be, in case of Nikon df, perhaps irrevocably converted. And what about the Konishiroku lens? But if money is no object, everything is possible. What with focal reducers and what not.

But, staying on the planet, and within some sort of budget, your bets would either be M4/3 with the 2x crop, or something cheap mirrorless APS-C with 1.5x crop. Like a Samsung NX. But no IBIS on that one, though.

Off cuff, it's also the only other (extinct) camera system, besides (nonextinct) M4/3, you also would be able to use your C-mount lens on, together with the OM and Konica lens.

Anyway, buying a Fujifilm or an A7 to be able to use a C-mount lens, sounds strange to me, tbah. Then you'll also have to consider the extra big vignette of the C-mount, if you go A7 or something other FF.

Something's gotta give somewhere, as there's no such thing as a free lunch.

So, what do you already have? What do you want? How much money have you got? How much time do you have? How interested in what you want are you?

Looks like a pretty simple equation to me.

"It's only logical." (Mr. Spock)
 
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Erich_H

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...
You can overcome that by using L39/M39 lenses, where you have a much smaller flange distance, so a far smaller adaptor, but you'll pay for that advantage.
...
In the interest of correctness, L39 and M39 are not the same.

L39 lenses with a shorter flange distance, and the small adapter, were used on range finder cameras, like the early Leicas. Lens prices high!

M39 (aka Z39) lenses were used on (among others) early Zenit cameras, and have the same flange distance as found on an M42 lens.

So this adapter will be as big as an M42 adapter.

Indeed, most M39 lenses are today used with a step up ring, on M42 adapters.
 
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JanW

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I've been trying to understand your main requirements while reading the earlier posts.
If I understand they are:
- Olympus OM Zuiko lenses
- Classic style body
- obtain optimal IQ from the OM lenses (you don't want to use a focal reducer)

Since the OM lenses can't match modern optics with regard to resolution you should look for a sensor that is as large as possible. The Sony A7 seems ideal but is ruled out because it looks modern.
This leaves the classic looking Olympus's (e-m5II would be nice) and the Fuji's. You could even go rangefinder style with an x-pro.
Even though there are tons of very nice images taken with OM lenses on m43 cameras the somewhat larger Fuji sensor will probably give a bit better IQ with your OM lenses.

I did not take IBIS into account until now. Since Sony and Fuji have no IBIS (except for the latest Sony's) Olympus have an advantage there. Not a problem in bright light but stabilization makes a lot of difference when light levels drop. That is not only when it gets dark outside but also indoors. I have taken lots of pictures that I couldn't have taken without IBIS.
Something to be aware of because it really improves the usability of the camera.

Hope this helps :)
 

Lee Perrins

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I've been trying to understand your main requirements while reading the earlier posts.
If I understand they are:
- Olympus OM Zuiko lenses
- Classic style body
- obtain optimal IQ from the OM lenses (you don't want to use a focal reducer)
When you put it like that it sounds like a job for an OM body and paying a little more to get the film digitised when it's developed. You can but a lot of film and processing for the price of a full frame body, even a secondhand one.
 

Erich_H

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I've been trying to understand your main requirements while reading the earlier posts.
If I understand they are:
- Olympus OM Zuiko lenses
- Classic style body
- obtain optimal IQ from the OM lenses (you don't want to use a focal reducer)

Since the OM lenses can't match modern optics with regard to resolution you should look for a sensor that is as large as possible. The Sony A7 seems ideal but is ruled out because it looks modern.
This leaves the classic looking Olympus's (e-m5II would be nice) and the Fuji's. You could even go rangefinder style with an x-pro.
Even though there are tons of very nice images taken with OM lenses on m43 cameras the somewhat larger Fuji sensor will probably give a bit better IQ with your OM lenses.

I did not take IBIS into account until now. Since Sony and Fuji have no IBIS (except for the latest Sony's) Olympus have an advantage there. Not a problem in bright light but stabilization makes a lot of difference when light levels drop. That is not only when it gets dark outside but also indoors. I have taken lots of pictures that I couldn't have taken without IBIS.
Something to be aware of because it really improves the usability of the camera.

Hope this helps :)
C'mon man! The guy has one OM lens.

And you're spending his money like there's no tomorrow! 😁
 
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