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Funny thing about legacy lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by dixeyk, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Over the past year I have had the good fortune to collect a number of very good legacy lenses. Mostly I have gotten pretty good at horse trading. The funny thing is despite some pretty nice legacy glass (Super Tak SMC 50/1.4, 35/3.5 and 28/3.5, Olympus OM 24/2.8, Canon FD 50/1.4, Helios 44-2 etc.) If I were setting out on some traveling I'd take...

    ...a 14-42 kit lens, my Pen-F 40/1.4 and the 17/2.8.

    Only ONE legacy lens would make the cut. In fact, for day to day use the Pen 40 is about the only legacy lens I use regularly. About the only other legacy lenses I have that I would give the franchise tag to are my OM 24/2.8 and a Vivtar 70-210/3.5 Macro Zoom. I'm not sure I would miss the rest.
     
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  2. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    I'm in agreement.

    The legacy glass is both fun and nostalgic (for some of us) but when it comes to getting the very most / best from my mu43 bodies, I'll take the factory m43 glass.

    Alan
     
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yep...the legacy lenses can be fun but the novelty factor is starting to wear off for me. One place where I do like the MF glass is video. I think I will keep my Super Tak 50/1.4 and an OM 35-70 (it stays focuses when you zoom) that I have for video other than that I think a lens sale is in the offing.
     
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  4. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    Actually, most legacy lenses are quite useless on µ4/3 bodies. Long lenses and zooms are too unwieldy, and wide lenses become slow normal lenses loaded with distortion. I think ideal legacy lenses for use on µ4/3 are fast 50mm lenses: they make great and compact portrait primes.
     
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  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    This is pretty much what I have found. The only exceptions i have found (in my lenses at least) are my OM 24/2.8 which is very useful and a 100/3.5 Pen-F lens. I don't use the 100/3.5 much as its not a focal length that suits me but perfectly useable none the less.

    Now my Pen-F 40/1.4...that's another story entirely.
     
  6. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Richard Elliott
    I think there is a distinction we need to make between "essential" and "useful" and "not really needed".

    If I travel light, I agree on the sentiment so far - the primary legacy lens I take is my 50/1.4 Pentax-M along with my 14-45, 20 and 45-200.

    However, I use my 50/3.5 Olympus macro, my 100/4 Micro-Nikkor macro and my legacy Nikon 300/4 and Tokina 400/5.6 telephotos quite a bit. They are very useful and not replicated as of yet in m43 (except for the Panny 45/2.8 which I cannot afford at this time.)

    I do have several lenses I really don't need and will be selling to help pay for future lens purchases.
     
  7. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    This is true - legacy macro lenses also make sense. Actually, they make more sense than PL 45mm because macro shots usually require manual focus anyway.
     
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    My Vivitar 70-210/3.5 Macro Zoom falls into that category. It's useful (although admittedly specialized) and I would not dream of selling it. But I too have a box full of nice legacy glass that I thought I would use more. Many of them would probably see a lot more action if I were still shooting film or were using something with a different crop factor.
     
  9. Between 24 and 50mm are the only focal lengths that really interest me in legacy lenses on a m4/3 body, and I would generally only carry one from each extreme. I just don't know how I ended up with so many lenses within 26mm or less of each other :confused:.
     
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Amen to that.
     
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  11. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    I take the opposite view. I use Zeiss, Leica and Voigtlander lenses on my m4/3 cameras almost exclusively and its like a veil has been lifted. Exceptional clarity, sharpness and colour. They are not cheap, but neither are many of the Panasonic or Olympus native lenses. For example I bought a 1968 Leica 135mm for £300 and it produced exceptional results. I like the 14mm, 20mm and 45mm primes from Panasonic but I get significantly better results from my manual focus lenses. The Voigtlander 25mm, though not a "legacy" lens except in design, also produces results I've never been able to get from a "native" m4/3 AF lens. At f/8 its one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used. Other Voigtlander lenses such as the 35mm and 40mm f/1.4's are capable of producing seriously sharp images in the f/5.6-f/11 range.

    Not suitable for all situations, as AF is very useful, but when I'm shooting landscape or have the time to work with the MF lenses they produce images that I've never been able to replicate with anything Panasonic or Olympus have come up with. At low ISO's the m4/3 sensors are capable of extraordinary resolution, the GH2 in particular responding really well to these top class lenses.

    I've got a Zeiss 50mm which for the majority of the images I take with it produces zero CA and fringing, something I've never yet seen on a native m4/3 lens.

    Some legacy lenses will not realise this potential, but if they were great for film they will generally be great on digital. m4/3 gives a wonderful opportunity to use some top class optics and produce top class images. I'm maybe not typical in that I rarely use zooms. I used mostly primes on my DSLR's also and on my Nikons most of them were MF lenses, like the 50mm f/1.2, 24mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8. When I started with m4/3 I liked the concept and the results were OK. It was only when I started using those Nikkors that I realised what it was capable of. When I saw that those lenses coupled with a GH1 body could equal and sometimes surpass the quality I was getting with the same lenses and a D3 at low ISO's, I was hooked. I've been using MF primes extensively ever since.

    I have no problem with the Panasonic primes but the zooms, particularly the kit lenses just don't deliver for me. They are incredibly useful admittedly, but after the results I can get with my metal marvels, I'm always disappointed with what they produce.

    My living depends on the photographs I take so when I took the decision to sell my Nikon and Canon DSLR's and the lenses I had for them, I had to be sure. I now work with small light cameras and lenses and earning my living is now a more pleasureable and less physically demanding activity. This is down largely to my confidence in the results I know I'm going to get from my m4/3 cameras and MF primes.
     
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  12. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi,

    Great argument position on the legacy side. Very well stated, and useful too!

    However, while agree with just about everything in your comments..

    You'll note I said getting the "most / best". I really believe you get the most from your 4/3 camera body when you can pick it up under any circumstance and just shoot.

    Hey, were I swimming in Leica glass, and shooting beautiful landscapes I'll bet my opinion would come 360 to yours. Probably smiling all the way there too.

    But still and all, I really enjoy the beauty, functionality, elegant design, ergonomics and simplicity of the mu 43 systems, not to mention the wonderful IQ.

    I abandoned the DSLR world for ease of equipment luggage, and to get myself back into a mode where taking photos, REAL photos was fun again. So for my part, carrying lenses with adapters, collecting adapters (to have enough for every lens?) then taking the time to focus manually gets a little too close to what I was trying to escape.. complexity, size, weight etc.

    As you know, I do have some legacy lenses. Though not on par with your collection of very fine glass Leica etc. Along those lines I've enjoyed taking photos of my grandchildren with a lens I purchased when I was 19 years old. It's also sort of a rush to think of all the film that I dragged behind that glass when I was much much younger.. and to think it's still here capturing images. Awesome really.

    All that said we won't do much to advance the future of m43 if we content ourselves to look in the rear view mirror, and not place demands on the manufactures to provide us with fast primes and fast zooms..

    And hey, I like old things, I appreciate antiques, a portion of my home was built in 1878 as a one room schoolhouse, (The Willis School) and I have an antique Spitfire...

    But, my house is converted to a "normal antique home" with several additions, and I don't drive the Spitfire everyday, too much maintenance required. It's just not practical, sort of how I feel about the legacy glass I guess. Nice, fun, nostalgic..not practical for everyday use IMHO.

    There's room for all of under the 43 tent..
     
  13. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    I very much agree with that.

    As I said I think some of the m4/3 lenses work very well. However any future lenses are going to be AF, and I doubt whether Olympus or Panasonic would ever manufacture an AF high quality prime along the lines of something like the Pentax 31mm f/1.8, which is a great lens but at a price I'm not sure they would consider.

    Besides "advancing the future of m4/3" is not something that concerns me. I take pictures, and my relationship with a camera system is a worker / tools one. I will express my views, and do so all the time on my blog, but when I decide to buy and use something, I make that decision on the basis of how it works for me. I also don't see it as "looking in the rear view mirror". Are you saying people shouldn't use a Stradivarius violin or a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Guitar? Surely if something is right for you and you think it produces better results than what is made today, then I see no virtue in not using it just because it isn't contemporary.

    I don't see the lenses I use as "antiques", in the same way as I don't see a Leica as antique. When something is right and works well, and does the job then I don't care when it was designed or manufactured.

    I judge by results. Though I like cameras, they take second place to what is by far the most important thing to me, the pictures that they take. Since I have to finance the rest of my life from those that I take, I use whatever I feel I need to in order to get the best possible result. At the moment that doesn't come from m4/3 factory lenses. I have tried them all and while they do a great job, I have others that do better.

    Apart from anything else they will probably still be taking great pictures long after their modern conterparts have become landfill, like the photographer!
     
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  14. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Well, There's no possible way for me to suggest that a Panasonic Zoom lens compares, favorably or outperforms a Leica lens.. It would be an argument rendered moot by years of images proving otherwise.

    I truly appreciate your love / use of / enjoyment of the legacy lenses. I like mine too.
    But for me, everyday, day in day out.. I'm really enjoying the 4/3 system with its native glass to an extent I never would have guessed possible. Never.

    When I bought it I thought it would become my carry along, with the "real stuff" being handled by my DSLR. Imagine my surprise when I simply began leaving the DSLR kit back in the office everyday. then I left for a short vacation looked at the DSLR, looked at the m43 gear... left the DSLR right where it was and headed for the airport with my new trusty friends... I haven't looked back since.

    Then again, I'm not paying the bills or feeding the family with photographs...

    I'm happy as can be though!
     
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  15. cherrywood

    cherrywood Mu-43 Regular

    116
    Dec 17, 2010
    Ohio
    How do you like the voigtlander 40mm 1/4 and how does it compare to the Zeiss 50mm 1.4. Which do you prefer any why? I am thinking of getting the 40mm 1.4 Voigtlanger as I really like the 40mm/EFL in m43 to 85mm .
    Thanks Dennis.
     
  16. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Although it's true I kind of disagree about telephoto lenses. Unweildy? Maybe but so are the native ones. Many legacy lenses are better and, don't forget, way cheaper. I like my 135/2.8 and there is no lens like it among :43:. Same goes for fast normal and macro lenses. Frankly I would prefer an AF 57/1.4, but, alas...
    IMHO only wide angle legacy lenses make no sense on :43:
     
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  17. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    Alan, I had to do a double take when I read your first post above-----being an aviation buff my jaw dropped when you said you owned an antique Spitfire.....and then you said you don't DRIVE it (as opposed to FLY it), so jaw has now returned to normal position. :smile:

    Like many who've posted above I bought my E-P1 primarily to use the fast vintage primes I own, and for the first few months shot exclusively with them. I really love the colors and contrast of the old lenses and don't really mind MF when not shooting fast action or shooting on-the-fly. I also find that now that I have an E-PL1 body with the VF-2, smallish MF zooms with zoom rings (rather than the push-pull mechanism) like the OM 75-10 F4 work well and are very balanced. I like using this lens a lot for video. But, as others have mentioned above, when it comes to intuitive shooting on-the-go, I have come to see the value of the kit zoom lens and 17mm 2.8 AF ---they really deliver. I still can't get over their plasticky feel, though, and for sheer "hold in your hand" pleasure, nothing beats the E-Ps with a 50mm Summicron.....
     
  18. Haha, my first thought was Supermarine, not Triumph too!
     
  19. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    It would have been great to have a real British Spitfire! I would have got one instead of the car, but it wouldn't fit in the garage....
     
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  20. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    :biggrin: