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Help me discover legacy!

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by jeffnesh, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. jeffnesh

    jeffnesh Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 29, 2010

    Lots of info on this board, and I'm starting to search and sift through, but in the meantime...

    Any pointers on MF legacy lenses for my G1? In particular, what are the 'good ones'/'must haves'? Any particular brands to look at? And where online (in addition to eBay) are good shops for purchasing?

    I do landscapes, portraits, still life and some street... I have the pan 20/1.7 so I'm thinking a fast 40 or 50 and maybe a fast 70ish or 90?

    See my site for examples of my shooting, but i'm looking to challenge myself in new directions by playing with some old MF lenses. Basically, I'm hoping for an 'Intro to Legacy Primes 101', or at least a pointer to a place to learn this (in addition to pouring over search results here!)

    Thanks for your help!!
  2. riveredger

    riveredger Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2010
    Northern NJ
    I just posted this today --> https://www.mu-43.com/f81/nikon-50mm-f-1-8-e-image-thread-5436/

    I was able to get the lens on another photo forum for $40 and I picked up the adapter on eBay for $31. This particular lens is cool because it is a pancake style prime. With the adapter and lens it is only slightly larger than the 14-42mm lens collapsed, although it definitely feels more solid than the kit lens.
  3. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Hey Jeff. Thanks for the great question. My interests are similar to yours and I'd be curious to hear what some of the more experienced members have to say. One of the reasons I moved to MFT was the ability to use these "legacy" lenses. I recently acquired two Canon FD lenses (the 50mm f1.2 and 85mm f1.8) and a Cirrus adapter via eBay. I just also purchased the 135mm f2.5, but haven't received it yet. Besides being a long time loyal Canon user, I find these lenses to be attractive because they can be picked up relatively cheap on eBay (the 135mm cost me about $45 USD plus shipping!).

    I've mainly used these to take landscape, cityscape and still life photos and have been generally pleased with the results. I find that it's best to use these lenses in situations where you have time to focus and set exposures, or where low light is an issue. These lenses are generally used in aperture-priority mode so you need the time to get the camera settings right. I'm also not as fast as I'd like to be with my manual focusing skills. :biggrin: As a result, I still prefer using my Panasonic 20mm and 14-140mm lenses for most other situations. :thumbup:

    Well, I hope to hear some more feedback and tips on your post.
  4. Gwendal

    Gwendal Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 6, 2010
    Hi Jeff - it looks like I've been the same path a few months ago, so here goes :
    - lots of people swear by the Hexanons and Jupiters, which provide great performance for very low cost (haven't tried myself...yet);
    - the Voigtlanders are very reputed, and offer very fast (the Nokton series) but more expensive options. I have used quite a bit my 35mm 1.2 over the last months, and simply love it ;
    - I wouldn't go the c-mount way - they are relatively expensive for the performance, and the "funny bokeh" novelty wears off ;
    - I found that MF wasn't too big an issue, just make sure you get adapters that focus to infinity ; actually, manual focusing provides a lot of pleasure in itself !
    - one great thing about MF lenses is that aperture is set directly on the lens, leaving more "direct control"
    Hope those 2 cents help !

    - more generally, it seems the rangefinder lenses are lighter and more compact than SLR lenses, which fits the m4/3s better ;
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I have thrown lots of lenses on the front of my 4/3 and m4/3 cameras as you can see here

    Legacy lenses - a set on Flickr

    some were very cheap... some were very expensive...plus most of my buying was done over a year ago so i don't know if prices have changed much.

    lenses I have enjoyed are

    OM 24/2 - probably at the upper end of what people would regard as cheap at over 250 dollars - there is a 24/2.8 which is also highly regarded though i have never used one

    OM 28/2.8 - a nice compact 'near normal' lens

    Nikkor 50/1.2 - i picked this up from a forum member for a very good price, and have enjoyed using this lens a lot

    Contax 50/1.7 - I paid less than a 100 euros for this from a dealer in Paris - this is a real quality lens - it has a look that I dont get from any other of my 50's

    Longer lenses than this start to get trickier to use hand held - though i did manage some nice shots with a Nikkor 105/2.5.

    MF can be fun and frustrating - but when you get it right it is very satisfying...you can achieve a 'look' that you wouldn't get from native lenses but there are many times when i still use my native lenses - in particular the 17/2.8 which is not as slow as people probably think - this shot was from a very dim bar

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Jazz....Nice.... by kevinparis, on Flickr

    and my 12-60 which i use on my oly510 - really wish they would make this for micro 4/3 as it is a stunningly good lens both quality wise and in terms of useful focal lengths.

    hope this helps - any questions feel free to ask

  6. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    I'm in complete agreement with this statement, such that I have gone for building up a collection of the voigtlander rangefinder lenses from the 15mm, f/4.5 up to the 75mm, f/2.5.
    These are not the fastest lenses in the world but well suited to my style of photography. There used to be a lot of discussion a few months ago about the merits of the 15mm, f/4.5 and corner problems, but I have found it to be a good lens for landscape work.
    I don't have experience of the 12mm, f/5.6 but would like to try one just to see if it produced the goods.
    These lenses would also cope with most street photography, at least daytime stuff since if you go back 40 years I happily used 35mm, f/3.5 and 90mm, f/4 lenses on a Leica M3 and many iconic photographs have been produced by well known photographers over the years using lenses not much faster than these.
    Obviously low light photography will demand more specialised lenses, but for the majority of work these voigtlanders are well balanced on :43: cameras and can produce good results.

  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    ahh Legacy

    I've been making the same transitions and there is a lot to choose from. I started off with a hand full of OM lenses. I had previously tried using them with my 4/3 setup but the VF on the E500 and E520 was just too small for my aging eyes. The m43 however is a LOT nicer in terms of using legacy lenses as they are simpler to adapt.

    For recommendations...I can only relate my experience. I have found that I quite like the old Konica lenses as they are relatively inexpensive to buy and deliver very nice results. My 50/1.7 for instance was a whopping $12 and delivers lovely sharp images. The biggest issue with using legacy lenses is the 2x multiplier. It means getting true WA can be tricky (meaning landscapes). A 28/3.5 for instance becomes a 56/3.5. To get WA in a legacy lens you will likely be looking at some pretty pricey glass. I just use the 14-42 kit lens for WA. On the plus side it means getting a fast 80 or 90 is a lot easier. My Konica 40/1.8 becomes a very sharp 80/1.8 when mounted to my EPL-1. If you like shooting wildlife it can be a HUGE advantage (although I find I NEED to use a tripod with long lenses).

    Of the lenses I have shot with (that might appeal to you) I recommend the Konica 40/1.8, 50/1.7, 28/3.5...and perhaps the OM 28/2.8. They are all reasonably cheap to pick up with very nice image quality. That way if you decide against any of them you're not out that much. I would also suggest looking at one longer lens like an OM 135/2.8 or Konica 135/3.2.

    BTW - kevinparis's legacy lens examples were really helpful to me. I still am jonesinig for a Super Takumar 50/1.4 because of one of his images.

    As far as acquiring lenses...eBay is a crap-shoot. CL is not that much better but you sometimes find deals. KEH is a reputable used equipment dealer and their "bargain" lenses are often remarkably nice. I also have had a lot of luck buying fromother board members here, on photo.net and on fourthirdsphoto.com.

    Have fun.
  8. jeffnesh

    jeffnesh Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 29, 2010
    Thanks so far

    Thanks, all, for the great suggestions and personal experiences. There is A LOT of information and a lot of options out there to sort through!

    Thanks again,
  9. RedSnapper

    RedSnapper Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 28, 2010
    Can I add a question to this thread?

    I've bought 2 Konica lenses and an adapter, though I haven't received them yet.

    How should I use them on my G2?

    I know I have to select 'shoot without lens'.

    I assume the camera will meter(???). Do I have to use manual mode?
    Any other advice?

    If this information is already available, please point me at it.

  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    you can use Aperture priority - set the f stop on the lens and the camera will work out the shutter speed

    • Like Like x 1
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Spend a little at first : get an OM or Pentax/Cosina or Konica-Hexanon 50mm f1.8 : the cheapest type of lens (common as muck, <$30) and probably guaranteed to be at least 'good', unlike many other brands.
    Buy a cheap <$30 adapter from Hong Kong.

    So for less than sixty dollars you are approaching the quality and DOF effects of the expensive stuff and can see what you might like to hunt next.

    Sensible? :smile:
  12. Rhys

    Rhys Guest

    Sep 4, 2010
    I'd suggest picking up a Helios 58mm f2. I saw a few recommendations on here for it which prompted me to get one. At £10 or so it's very hard to go wrong. Of the three M42 fitting lenses I've tried so far it is my favourite.
  13. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 25, 2010
    I'd suggest trying the Canon FD range first. They tend to be cheaper than most other equivalents (as they cannot easily be used on many other cameras) and are uniformly decent. For example, the Takumar 50/1.4 is a very popular lens, but I have one of those and the Canon version and I prefer the Canon (it's also cheaper). Most, except the early ones, are multi coated too, which helps when shooting near a bright background. The adapters are also pretty cheap and 1/4 inch shorter than the M42 ones (which is nice on micro 4/3).
  14. shinobi

    shinobi Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2010
    Must haves are subjective .... my personal must have is Zeiss Contax/Yashica 50mm f/1.7, and 85mm f/1.4 ... also same lenses are must haves on my Leica and Canon. All shared ....
  15. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    you may as well go thru the pain of trying to focus MF lenses on M43 - everybody else has - but if you want to do yourself a favour (and save money), stick to the dedicated lenses and keep away from MF on all except very wide glass
  16. LeeOsenton

    LeeOsenton Mu-43 Button Clicker

    Jun 25, 2010
    Hayes, Virginia, U.S.A.
    Lee Osenton
    There are many great legacy 50mm lenses from multiple manufacturers. Hit pawn shops, craigslist, ebay, and used camera dealers to find a bargain. Buy the adapter after you find a deal on a good lens. I ended up with a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 MD mount. I paid $15 for it and then spent $20 on an adapter. The results have been excellent and the out of pocket minimal.
    Manual focusing takes a little longer, but I have already gotten great results. I don't use mine often (I also have the Pan 20mm), so I am glad I was cost conscious. Most important: have fun while shopping for a budget treasure
  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    pain? .. i'll give you its not as easy as the native lenses...but it is easier than on a dslr and to me the results are worthwhile.. you can get shots that you can't get with native lenses

    View attachment 149723
    in a mothers arms by kevinparis, on Flickr
  18. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    Manual focus is not hard with the EVF of the EP2.



    It is equivalent of manual focus on a single lens reflex. If you can handle that, you will not have a problem.
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Say what? With the VF2 on my EPL-1 it is MUCH nicer than my DSLR ever was. I don't find it any more difficult than using MF lenses on my old OM1 and you can get very very good quality glass (IMHO better than many native lenses) for next to nothing. In fact, the ability to easily use legacy lenses was the WHOLE REASON I went to m43 in the first place!!!
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