Faster legacy lens worth it ?

PhilippePASCAL

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Hi !

I already use a cheap Oly 40-150m f4-5.6 R. I find it right for the price (focus speed, sharpness...)
But it is f4 only.

I wanted to buy a legacy f2 or 2.8 (prime or zoom) to gain more DOF control and a stop or two.
Is it worth it, knowing some legacy lenses will need to be stopped down for sharpness ?
And knowing some legacy lenses cost the same price than used native equivalent :wink:

Thanks for your light on the subject !

PS : i was an avid reader before my first buy. Now i bought my first m43, it is time to be a member :thumbup:
 

Steven

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Yes :smile: the answer is yes. Buy f1.4 so even after you stop down once , it's still f2 which gives you nice DoF effect.
 

pellicle

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yeah, grab a 50mm f1.8 or so as your first lens. I usually say OM 50 simply because they are good and well priced. I picked 50mm for the fact that it actually differentiates itself from the kit 14-45 significantly. 28 @ f2.8 is not significanly different from that portion of the zoom range and so you gain very little.
 

Turbofrog

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I think a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 is the best bargain anywhere in the lens world. The difference between it and any kit lens is night and day. And I find manual focussing kind of fun...
 

TassieFig

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DOF control?

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EM53042.jpg by Tassie Fig, on Flickr

Shot with 40-150R.

I have some legacy lenses and it was fun playing with them for a week. Some were really good, fast but heavy (eg Vivitar Serie 1 28-105 f/2.8-3.8 Macro) other were really bad and heavy (eg Pentax SMC M 80-200 f/4.5). All MF of course. I find the oly 40-150 excellent, better than any of my legacy and super light. Auto focus!!!

I do think it's worth trying out legacy lenses. You might love it and there are some great ones out there. I'm not using mine anymore but I'm glad I've tried them out. I love the aperture rings and the smooth focusing but I love AF more. I'm still eyeing some legacy lenses but I probably wont go there.
 

RichardB

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A fast 50 is fun to play with, and it makes lovely portraits. I've never found one in my (cheap) price range that is very sharp at f/1.4. The f/1.8 lenses are much more likely to be sharp wide open, and there are more of them on the market so their prices are much lower. Sometimes you can get the best deal if you buy one with an SLR attached as a rear cap.

The legacy lenses may not be as sharp as modern digital lenses, but the difference is noticeable only to pixel peepers. Legacies make great images for standard prints or web display.

You can also find a lot of old 135mm primes with relatively large apertures and low prices.
 

agentlossing

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Konica Hexanon lenses can be an awesome buy and have a relatively short adapter, so they're a bit less bulky overall than many other adapted lenses. The 40mm f1.8, for instance, is already a near-pancake lens so with adapter it's quite manageable. An even cheaper option would be M42 screw mount lenses, you can find many cheap (old) lenses for next to nothing. I have a nice 55mm f1.8 Mamiya/Sekor which is good from f2 onward.

Don't really expect to get the wide-open aperture out of these lenses. As a by-product of the adapting process (I believe) they end up looking very, VERY soft at max aperture and really have to be stopped down a little. The aforementioned Konica looks okay after f2.8, but really starts looking good at f4.
 

svenkarma

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It is worth budgeting for one of the speed booster adapters, whether metabones or generic.
 

tjdean01

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Get a 50-55mm that you can shoot at f2 (meaning is sharp by f2). I did TONS of research before buying and concluded with lots of help that buying a 50mm f1.7 would be the best. That's still my favorite lens today.

Someone mentioned the Konica 40/1.8: not unless if you plan to shoot at f2.8 or higher. I have 3 copies all perform the same: spectacular above f2.8, crappy below.
 

agentlossing

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I really think the Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f1.8 is the best performing at widest aperture settings of any legacy lens I've used.

GX1•EP1•GF3•9mmBCL•17mm2.8•30mm2.8
 

eteless

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Not mentioned so far is the absolutely fantastic Olympus Pen FT 38mm f1.8, while it's a little bit soft wide open once you stop down it's absolutely magical and it's a very small compact lens.

I'll put in another vote for basically any f1.8 50mm prime, they're all pretty good. The Olympus 50mm f1.8 I have (and still use, with film) is a fantastic lens that is VERY sharp even wide open... the limiting factor of it's sharpness is field curvature - it's not good at taking pictures of test charts as the corners focus further away than the centre when focused at a set distance. It's more than capable of causing aliasing towards the centre even wide open on an E-M1 however. The earlier non multicoated versions are prone to flare causing them to lose contrast wide open, with the very last model it's less of an issue.
 

arch stanton

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The OM100mm/2.8 is a really nice lens - I've only just replaced it with the Panny 35-100/2.8 - good wide open and not much bigger than a 50mm!
 

HarryS

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Fast is always worth it if you need speed. Relative to the 40-150 f4-5.6 focal length range, I like the legacy 50mm f1.8 and 135mm f2.8, because these lenses are inexpensive. Cheap and fast is a winning combination. The tradeoff is size and weight, plus you have to nail focus.

I believe my Olympus 45mm is better wide open than any of my old 50's, but at 60X the cost, it should be better. The differences are still small. I have no problems shooting both wide open, and at f4, I could not tell the difference if adjusted to give the same angle of view.
 

Cruzan80

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For Minolta, the best 50 is supposed to be the MD Rokkor X 50 1.4 with 55mm threads. The MC version is close behind it, but the 49mm versions are supposed to be worse (7/5 performing better than 7/6). I know it killed both 50 1.7s I had (MC and MD), and it is supposed to sharpen up faster than the 50/1.2. It depends on what you want out of it. The 58 1.4 vs the 1.2 has a different rendering (1.2 being smoother at the same aperture), but it is also 10x the price. The 58 1.4 is sharp from about 2.8 onwards, and has a nice portrait glow below that (not unusable, but a distinct look). Personally, I shoot the MD 45/2 wide open and am fine with it. Best practice is to take a look at sample pictures of what you are thinking of, and make your own decisions. Spatulaboy did a shootout between the Pana, Oly and Minolta 45's on here and almost everyone couldn't tell the difference.

One of these days I am seriously considering a shootout on the 45-60mm range of what I have, just to compare. Right now I have 6 manual lenses in that range, from 1.2 to 2.8, and a Fuji 18-55 to compare to modern optics. Wont be anything fancy (tripod in the living room) but may help others get an idea.
 

lenshoarder

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As many people have said, many F1.4 lenses are soft wide open. Here's the worst one I have. A Sears F1.4. It takes until F4 for things to tighten up.

http://www.lenshoard.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=912

But there is one standout that starts sharp and keeps on being sharp. The Canon FD F1.4. It's pretty sharp wide open and keeps on going. It's sharper wide open at F1.4 than the Canon F1.8 lens is wide open.

Canon F1.4
http://www.lenshoard.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=930

Canon F1.8
http://www.lenshoard.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=931
 

KBeezie

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Depends on what you want, but for me, I found my Pentax-M 50/1.4 adapted to be worth every cent (and if I remember correctly it was something like $35 for me), which I originally got for my Pentax K-10D to shoot at indoor events and such without utilizing a flash (which was handy when the fog machines went a bit overboard), and I was the only one allowed on the stage arround the back and edges for taking pics.

But later when I got the Olympus E-P3 I used it with a fotodiox adapter a lot, and later on with a tilt adapter.

So some off that:

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Can be a tad soft at f/1.4, but for the price (which at the higher end varies between $50 to $80) I don't think you can beat that, especially since it's body is a little easier to control as a manual focus lens.
 

PhilippePASCAL

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Nice points here, thanks !

Thanks for all your kind answers and examples !

I didn't mentioned a VERY important thing : i already have a Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 V2 on my desk (perfect shape).
You know...the yellowing radioactive one :biggrin: No, i'm not afraid :jedi:
I ordered an adapter some weeks ago (probably here next week, from hong-kong).
I know i will love it, because it was mounted on my father's Spotmatic. It is probably the first camera and lens i got in my hands...a very long time ago :love:
My father gave them to me some months ago :2thumbs: It will make a perfect portrait-like 100mm f1.4 equivalent.

My question was more on the legacy "normal"/telephoto side (85,100,135,200...). You gave me nice points for this focal range, too.
I will use my 50mm first...and probably be addicted...and buy some longer primes afterward to play around :biggrin:
I will see how i "feel" them, what the "faster but softer" parameter can do for me. I already know for portrait, but not for longer reach.
For the price, it is not going to be so risky after all :thumbup: And i already feel a macro coming (there are some nice comparison threads here) :biggrin:

Thanks again !
 

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