Cheap 4/3 to M43 adapter fail

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by silver92b, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    So I picked up a couple of 4/3 lenses which are quite nice. I figured that the cheap copies of the Oly or Pany converters would work just fine. After all, they have no glass and only transmit the signals from the body to lens and back, right?

    Well, today I learned a lesson that cost me some nice shots. I took my Zuiko 9-18 4/3s lens along with the Fotasy adapter to do a shoot. I got to the place and took a good number of shots with the 12-40 f2.8 and a couple with the Pany 35-100 on the E-M1 body. No problems with the function of either lens. When I tried to use the Zuiko 9-18, at first I got a black screen :eek:... So I removed and re-installed the lens on the body and got a picture in the display and EVF. Fine, now I want to shoot... Guess what, the camera controls wont work to change the aperture and basically the aperture and other info don't even show up in the display! WTF! Got scared and though my E-M1 had failed.

    So I took off the 9-18 with the adapter and replaced it with the 12-40 f2.8..... It worked perfectly! Now, I got home and tried the Pany 4/3s to M43 adapter that I (luckily) purchased a while back. I attached it to the E-M1 body and mounted the 9-18 lens on it, and it worked perfectly well.... The lesson is that even relatively simple adapters like that can be made poorly enough that they will fail. I have wasted whatever $$ I spent on that crappy adapter, and worse yet, I missed some good shots.

    The noral of the story is, don't waste your money and time on cheap Chinese garbage. Go ahead and spend the few extra bucks and get the real deal! :thumbup:
    • Like Like x 1
  2. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Real Name:
    A lot of folks seem to have had good luck with the cheap adapters. It seems to me to be a gamble. I once had a Leica M to u4/3 no name adapter that worked for a bit, but after a few uses the lens would not mount tightly to the adapter. I ended up with a Voigtlander adapter that had springs to keep the lens tightly mounted instead of a friction fit. The cheap adapter was actually wearing down and shedding small flakes of aluminum. I did find a few bits of metal in the camera body and in the adapter itself. That has never happened with the better quality adapters I now use.
  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    That's why I bought the Olympus adapter, it certainly cost more than the eBay ones, but I know it will work and with the 4/3 SHG lenses, it seemed silly to buy for a cheap adapter. There are some things that are absolutely fine, but when it comes to anything in the optical path, I tend to buy quality. Even a simple thing like a malfunctioning lens release could make for a bad day.
  4. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Real Name:
    Honestly the more likely scenario is the 9-18 had a slightly dirty contact that failed to connect correctly and a couple on/off cycles may well have fixed it.... the 3rd party and oem are exactly the same in that all they do is pass signals through with a bit of wire and the contacts and if the unit works with one lens then it will work with all.
    I've had the same thing happen.
    Oh the other nice painful gotcha on the olympus bodies (and i assume pany) is that if the locking pin on the body does not fully engage the screen will be black.

    Lot's of us had zero problem with the 3rd party adapters and to call them all cheap chinese garbage on the basis of one event is hysteria quite honestly and you should be ashamed........ Turn your EM1 over look at the tag on the bottom and repeat after me.... my EM1 was made in China.... oh crap it's Chinese garbage and i better throw it out
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    I think there's a difference between something made in a factory assembly line controlled and managed by the OEM, compared to products made in whatever home workshop. There are some products that are superbly made, camera plates etc come to mind, and I have no issue with buying from these smaller Chinese producers but, as I said, I worry about things that are in the optical path. I've also had plenty of poor results with a number of electronic devices such as wireless triggers, hot shoes, batteries etc, which is why I'm wary of these types of devices, unless the provider is fairly well known and reported.
  6. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 31, 2013
    Home workshop? China? Ray, you gotta tell me about where you find those real estate deals with those houses that could house a lathe, anodization bath and PCB line.

    And I've met some real interesting people in the United States, some of them owning more metrology equipment than full on labs in their climate controlled "garage."

    In seriousness I'll echo this: Stick with known providers if you don't want to play any games.
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    There's a guy where I live that has a shed full of the most sophisticated lathes, milling machines etc that you could imagine. He does some amazing engineering. But when I said home workshop, many are very much in a similar vein. Even in Japan, many automotive components are made, certainly used to be made, in what could also be considered home workshops, making say just one or two simple components by the crate load. This chap in the US has been making camera plates effectively from his home workshop for some years (I've bough his stuff before the Chinese started doing the same): Visit Bali one day and see what can be made in the most improbable conditions.:biggrin:

    Hell, I effectively made this in my study (flatbed microscope):

    • Like Like x 4
  8. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Bought a not so cheap Vello 43-u43 adapter. It worked fine w/ the ZD300 but not the EC 14. And after a bit, it began to unlock from my EM1 but not my EM5.

    Bought a used Oly MMF3 that works fine. But seen plenty of reports of those failing too. Even the OEMs have precision QC problems.
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    Undoubtedly even OEM stuff can have problems, but try getting a warranty claim from an eBay seller after the 45 days claim period is over. :eek:
  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    The amount of plastic in the MMF-3 (and the current Panasonic version) is disconcerting.

    I get nervous when I put a heavier lens on, such as the ZD 7-14mm (sorry, that's the heaviest I have :p ) or the front-heavy 8mm fisheye.

    If it were up to me, the adapters would be near-solid aircraft aluminum or SS.

    The MMF-1 had more metal, but I don't know if it's weather-sealed and it's hard to find now.

  11. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Most times and for most mounts, the eBay "garbage" rip-off adapters do a perfect job. Sadly, I have found that 4/3-mount and Exakta-mount adapters from 3rd-party manufacturers don't fair so well. I've had a couple of the 4/3 adapters do exactly the same thing as the OP - they wiggle so much that the contact is lost for a moment, the screen goes blank, the camera won't work, and you have to detach and reattach the lens to start over again (usually twisting the zoom ring in the "wider" direction has triggered it for me). I do have one that's always worked properly although once I bought the MMF-3, the difference in build quality and precision in manufacturing was immediately clear. Sad to have to spend that much on an adapter, but after buying 3 of the cheap ones to get to one that worked, I'd spent that much anyways.
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    I've got the MMF-1 as well, and it's made of just as much plastic as the MMF-3. I was hauling my 35-100mm around last weekend during a news assignment and never felt that the MMF-3 wasn't up to the task, even when carrying the camera and lens by the grip alone. I've had the E-M1 with 14-35mm fly off the front seat of my 4WD into the footwell, while going down a steep track in the bush, and it's survived without drama. The MMF-1 is not weather sealed.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Having pulled several of the adapters apart which have failed I can say with certainty that the MMF-3 is very well made. I personally believe the plastic is a fantastic design choice, if you were to drop the camera the adapter *should* break in preference to damaging the lens or mount on the camera (in theory). With the way the plastic inside the adapter is moulded it's very strong, the biggest weakness of it isn't the plastic but the aluminum mount on the body side. With heavy use over a longer period (6-12 months) the hole will slowly enlarge and allow the lens to rotate on the mount and the body won't talk to the lens randomly as the pins don't align(Or as mentioned earlier, the pin rides up in the hole and the screen goes black due to the body failsafe). A chrome plated brass mount would make the timeframe longer however it doesn't remove the problem, I've worn out one teleconverter due to the hole enlarging it just took something like 5 years of use.

    If you manage to break one with normal usage I'd be VERY surprised given what I've done to them and seen them survive.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Real Name:
    If Rod Taylor stepped from your contrivance Ray, I wouldn't blink an eye. :wink:
  15. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    One question for the OP that puzzles me

    If you had a genuine Panasonic 4/3 to m/43 adapter already why did you feel the need to buy a cheap one, sorry I don't get the logic in that one.

  16. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I've had very few problems with simple mechanical adapters from cheap Chinese manufacturers, but don't think I'd trust more complicated ones with electronic contacts. Or, if I was using exceptionally high-end lenses, I'd probably want to spend a little more to ensure planarity with the mount. But if the lenses I'm using are only $200 at most, it seems pretty absurd to spend $100+ on an adapter.
  17. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    Anecdotally, I've bought two of these cheap 4/3 to Micro 4/3 adapters, for $40 and $43 (the more expensive one has a tripod socket). And they work fine. I'm sure it's possible to buy a defective item from just about anywhere. But the fact that one item was defective hardly warrants slamming an entire class of products. I once got a defective Olympus E-1 with flakey electronics. I also had similar issues with a Leica R4. Does that mean all Olympus and Leica cameras are bad?
  18. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    If you often use or carry more than one 4/3 mount lenses, a second adapter is handy, and why not experiment with an inexpensive one?

    I started with the DMW-MA1 in 2010 and often would forget where I left it. When the knock-off adapters got down under $40, I bought a second one. No electrical issues here, and the mount is tight, but it feels pretty plasticky and lightweight. I use it mainly with the 35mm macro. If I owned a heavy 4/3 lens, I'd reserve that for the DMW-MA1.
  19. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Yes, I bought the $80 Vello for just this reason. Its got a plastic shell around Al core w/ the mounts screwed to the Al core. The electrical contacts are w/in the plastic shell however.

    I'm using the MMF-3 w/ the huge ZD300 f2.8 & its working just fine- for now. My worry is whether the m43 mount- on the camera as well as MMF-3 - is stiff enough to withstand long term use w/ such loads.

    All the MMF-3 failures I've read about have been electrical.

    For the record, I've got cheap Pentax & Nikon adapters & an expensive Novoflex Canon FD adapters that work fine. However the first cheap Nikon & Canon adapter fit poorly & shed metal but got them from Amazon which has good return policy so they went back.
  20. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    With the very heavy lenses, I tend to carry the lens, not the camera. I was doing that even with my 4/3 bodies, as there's no point in tempting fate.