Easiest legacy lenses to adapt to M4/3?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by n3eg, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Which manufacturers' lenses (mounts) are the easiest to adapt, in terms of cost of adapter and size? I already have a Pentax 110 adapter and a C-mount adapter, and the C-mount vignettes on every lens I've tried on my E-PL5.
  2. IMO, takumar M42 lenses with the lever to manually open and stop down the aperture diaphragm.

    The M42 screw mount adapter is simply a threaded tube and is cheap. Buy one for each of your lenses and dismount/mount your lenses at the MFT mount.
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  3. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Ltm for sure, and super cheap too.
  4. dadadude

    dadadude Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    San Carlos, CA
    They are all easy except for the Canon FD mount which requires an IQ of 50 to figure out. All the adapters can be had for dirt cheap on ebay so brand is a personal preference. I like Minolta Rokkor MC lenses, but also have a ton of other brands, Canon, Pentax, Konica etc. It's both fun and somewhat addictive to try them out.
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  5. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2013
    Any lens with an aperture ring will work well adapted. I prefer M42.
  6. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    The old Pen-F mount from Olympus is nice and small too. Unfortunately the lenses are expensive...

    Smallest are going to be C-mount, M39 (LTM), Pen-F, and Pentax-110. But getting lenses for those can be problematic. They are either expensive compared to DSLR lenses, or the quality isn't there.
  7. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Let me elaborate on my response, which was posted from my phone by an older guy with large thumbs.

    You mention "cost of adapter and size". Cost isn't usually much of a factor, but there is a big difference in the size of adapters. M42 adapters, for example, are 26mm long--over an inch--while Leica thread-mount (LTM) are only 10mm long. That's a big difference, and the reason I suggested LTM as the "best" mount for adapted lenses. The LTM mount was designed for rangefinder cameras, which like m43 lack a mirror.

    The catch here is the cost of the lenses. LTM is not called the Leica thread-mount for no reason--it was originally designed for Leica lenses, which as you know are very expensive. There are, however, other sources of LTM-mount lenses, most notably the old Soviet factories, which can often be purchased very inexpensively. IMO these lenses are a natural fit with m43 because they are so small.
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  8. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    The Jupiter 8 50mm f2 Former USSR lens can be had for a reasonable cost, its basically a pre WW2 Zeiss design and has lots of character, there are others that will work well and low cost. Actually a lot of the FSU lenses are quite nice in M42 the Helios 58mm is nice too and there was a nice 85mm as I recall. I found a 500mm Mirror is a lot of fun for Moon shots especially with a 2 or 3x convertor.
  9. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Rangefinder lenses are the best choice.
  10. OK, I found my starting point. I went thrift store shopping and picked up four lenses for $45. First is a Canon FD 50/1.8 for $20. Second was another Canon FD 50/1.8 for $5 in near perfect condition - that copy is going to Ebay. Third is a Soligor FD 70-150 /3.5 for $10 with a broken tab holding the breech ring (will take it apart and fix it) and fourth is what looks like a Telesar Minolta MC 85-205/3.8 which is a throwaway because of a ring of lens element separation showed up between there and home - only $10 though.

    My next question: What is the best FD to M4/3 adapter?
  11. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ciecio7 on ebay sells great FD adaptors for 50 bux, but it gets shipped from poland. One solid piece, no branding, no screw that can come off and none of that "open-close" nonsense, which i believe is the reason why so many people have trouble with adapted fd lenses, like lenses getting stuck to adaptors or the aperture ring not working
    I got one and I love it.
  12. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    With cheap FD lenses, you might as well get the cheapest. By the way, speaking of that Open-Lock rIng, it should be in the OPEN position when you mount the lens. Wait, it should be in the Lock position. LOL, one of these guys is wrong.

    Attached Files:

  13. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Cost of adapters is a non-issue (I've had good luck with cheapie Chinese fotga ones from eBay for a song). I'd start with something cheap and cheerful to see if you get along with stop down metering and autofocus - it's a bit if an acquired taste. There are plenty of mounts with good old lens options - canon FD, Minolta MC/MD, Pentax, and let's not forget Olympus OM (very compact lenses compared to some others). My favorites are not cheap, but worth it (contax Zeiss, and some Leica R glass, both of which I got for less than the current going prices in ebay), but only if you use them. I'm not wild about most of them in FF because I prefer a wide to normal perspective, and the 45/1.8 Oly is just very hard to beat if you just want an all round great lens.

    Still, it is fun.
  14. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I fiddled with a few adapted lenses when I first got into u43 - mainly old OM lenses, but in the end I gave up. The native lenses are so good, why bother?
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  15. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    As mentioned, none of them are really rocket science, although some have idiosyncrasies that need to be considered.

    If you've got time on your hands and feel like playing then why not just buy a 50/f1.8 from all the big manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta etc...) and see which one you like most? They shouldn't cost more than $20-30 each and you won't lose anything on resale...

    Personally my favourite are the SMC 'K' and 'M' series from Pentax. SMC-M 50/f1.7 is compact, cheap and awesome, SMC-M 50/f1.4 reasonably priced and awesome, SMC-K 24/f2.8 awesome, built like a tank and slightly less cheap :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  16. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Because we can and the experience is awesome :biggrin:
  17. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
    Funny I just logged in to upload some Canon FD 50mm f1.4. I love the weight and feel of the old FD lenses. I'm using the Fotasy adapter on a E-M1. Real cheap on amazon and very well built. The 35 and 50 are the most fun I also have a 100m f2.8. Even though it's a pretty Long reach at 2x crop it's amazingly sharp for an adapted lens.
  18. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    My experience with Legacy lenses *and* the adapters is mixed. I got several cheap adapters for the FD lenses (I have a number of them). I notice that many of the adapters are not very "tight" on the lens side, they all fit the camera well, but some of the lenses feel loose in the adapter. Some of the adapters might be better than others and the lenses as well. I love the FD 50mm f3.5 macro. The 50mm f1.4 is good to. The OM lenses can do really well too, but the adapter is rather big.

    The FD adapters are small and help keep the M43 form in the smaller side. One thing I've discovered is that the legacy lenses work much better with the E-M5 and E-P5 bodies than with the GX7. It's probably the IBIS which helps to get such good shots at lower speeds and wider apertures.
  19. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    For utility, I agree that Takumar M42 lenses win. With the Takumars you do need to be sure to get an adapter that DOESN'T press that stop down pin. With most other brand M42 lenses you DO need the adapter to press the pin.

    Canon FD mounts can be a bit of a chore to get attached to the lens properly. Simply by one inexpensive adapter for each lens and you only have to deal with it once.

    As to size, RF lenses like the LTM and Leica M-mount lenses are some of the most compact when adapted. The Olympus Pen 1/2 frame lenses are also compact and the adapter is reasonably short. All full frame 35mm SLR lenses will seem a bit large once adapted, though the Pentax Takumars are reasonably small for the class and Nikkors and Canon FD lenses are generally larger.

    If you are looking for a good inexpensive "fast 50mm" I would suggest the Takumar 55mm f/1.8 and the Russian FSU (Former Soviet Union) Jupiter-8 50mm f/2.0 as hard to beat. I have both, along with the rather expensive Leica Summicron-DR 50mm f/2.0 and Leica Summarit 50mm f/1.5 and prefer the Takumar overall.
  20. beameup

    beameup Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 23, 2013
    The OM lenses are a "natural" and generally are bought for less than Canikon lenses.
    My OM-4/3 adapter has a "chip" in it that communicates with the camera ($19).
    The m4/3 adapter does not ($10). China makes some very cheap-good accessories.
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