How do YOU define a "native lens"?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by MarylandUSA, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2013
    Poolesville, Maryland
    Paul Franklin Stregevsky
    This subforum defines native lenses as "lenses designed specifically for Micro Four Thirds." But in practice, some of us define it more broadly. Take the Sigma 19, 30, and 60mm primes. They were designed for the larger NEX. But in M43 mount, they provide full electronic coupling: autofocusing, full-aperture metering, and EXIF data. Are they native? They're certainly native enough.

    Inversely, the manual-focus Samyang/Rokinon/Bauer/Bell & Howell 7.5mm fisheye was designed exclusively for M43. But it can't communicate with the camera body. You won't get full-aperture metering, or EXIF data. Technically, the Samyang fisheye is an M43 native lens. But in practice, it hasn't fully "gone native".

    Then there are the curiosities in the middle: a handful of older Sigma autofocus lenses designed for full-frame but offered in M43 mount, complete with electronic coupling. Not native glass, by any stretch. But arguably more M43-friendly than the manual-focus Samyang fisheye.

    Finally, there are the original four-thirds lenses. They can't be called native, because to use such a lens on an M43 body, you need an adapter. But not on the new EM-1.

    A Tokina lens for APS-C in Nikon mount is considered a Nikon-native lens, even though the same lens is offered in Canon mount. So clearly, a lens need not be offered for one mount exclusively. In fact, even if a third-party lens focuses "the wrong way" (e.g., couterclockwise=farther focus), it's considered native when it's offered in that mount.

    I'm inclined to say that a lens is native to Micro Four Thirds if it electronically couples without an adapter. By this measure, i would say that the Samyang fisheye is not a true native lens...perhaps quasi-native.
  2. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I define it as a lens that mounts directly and communicates electronically with the body.
  3. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I don't think it needs to communicate with the body. To me, a native lens is one that comes from the factory with an m43 mount, and needs no adapter of any type to work on an m43 camera.

    So the Samyang fisheye and Voigtlander f/0.95 primes are native lenses, because they mount directly to the camera. So are the Sigma 19 and 30mm lenses, which do communicate with the body.

    Four-thirds lenses, however, which do communicate with the body, need an adapter to be used on m43, so they are not native lenses.
    • Like Like x 7
  4. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    If the Samyang and Voigtlander lenses aren't m43 because they have no electronics, then what are they? That seems like a silly premise to exclude a lens. Even Olympus and Panasonic say they're native.

    You can have any personal definition you want, I suppose. But for me, if it came frome the factory with a m43 mount, it's native.

    • Like Like x 3
  5. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    What are they? They are lenses without the functionality of native lenses.

    I define it in terms of functionality supported on the camera, not the physical mount.

    To me, it has to have the support of the camera's ability to set the aperture in shutter priority and program mode, and the focal length for the IBIS system, and the EXIF data for the data file.

    If the lens is functionally no different from an adapted lens, it's not a native lens, because it can't operate like a native lens can.

    Functionally speaking, what's the difference between a Voigtlander Leica lens with a Leica to M43 adapter, and a Voigtlander m4/3-mount lens? There is none. Operationally, it's identical to an adapted lens, not a native Olympus or Panasonic lens.
  6. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    If it's got a mount and fits, you must acquit... wait no- if it has a mount without modification or adapter: it's native. There are a ton of old 4/3 lenses made by 3rd parties, that were basically APS-C or FF lenses, with electronic mounts for 4/3, even though they weren't designed for 4/3 and have a way bigger image circle.

    When I was rockin' the 4/3's cameras, I had a Sigma 24mm f1.8, native 4/3 mount, but designed for full frame, sucker was HUGE and HEAVY compared to the 25mm f1.4, ended up selling it because it was so unwieldy on a µ4/3 body:

    It's also another reminder why I only own 1 full frame lens, and why I'll NEVER take a full frame camera hiking, or a vacation where I have to walk a lot.
  7. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    IMHO, a Native lens is a lens that the camera knows what it is, and can operate accordingly with that lens on it. Natives speak the native language, that the camera understands.
    • Like Like x 4
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Good description! :smile:
  9. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    It's a moot point for all I care! :tongue:
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Hagane

    Hagane Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Limburg, Netherlands
    If it works without an adapter it's native... Don't agree with the communication part, for me a voigtländer is sure as he** a native lens.
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I think the forum name should be changed to include lenses manufactured to the m4/3rds mount. Surely?
    The "design" is largely irrelevant.
  12. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Not mute natives.

    I'd have to go with the "If it comes from the factory with a m4/3 mount it's native" definition.

    Cosina is a member of the m4/3 group and has designed lenses specifically for m4/3. They are manual non-electronic native lenses.

    If i don't need an adapter it's native. Of course this is all my own opinion and I don't expect to change anybody's mind. It's not even that important.

  13. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    I have the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm lens and classify it as a native µ4/3 lens. It was designed and manufactured to fit the µ4/3 mount any other definition would be absurd.
  14. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    I have a native u43 mount Holga (two actually).

    • Like Like x 2
  15. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2013
    'If they are manufactured with a u4/3 mount' is a good definition. Though I'd say there is a multidimensional range of compatibility.

    image circle

    For instance, the Tokina 300mm checks those boxes, but is manual focus, (why can't cosina do this, BTW).

    Whereas the Sigmas DON'T have a u4/3 image circle but are autofocus.
    Which is more native?

    Sent from my MB886 using Tapatalk 4
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    That's probably the simplest definition, but it does seem a little arbitrary that the Rokinon 85/1.4 is a native lens (despite basically being a mount conversion from FF) while the Olympus 14-54/2.8-3.5mk2 is not. The latter has far more in common with most m4/3 lenses than the former.
  17. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2013
    Poolesville, Maryland
    Paul Franklin Stregevsky
    3 ways to be native

    Perhaps it would be useful to distinguish between three kinds of nativity--lenses that are optically native, electronically native, and mount-native (mountable without an adapter).
  18. Hagane

    Hagane Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Limburg, Netherlands
    No offense, but why? I don't think that anyone has the need to distinguish different kinds of m43 native lenses.

    There is a forum for adapted lenses, which are all lenses where you need an adapter to use 'em.

    And then you have native lenses, which are useable without adapter and which will pop up at any retailer if you search for m43 lenses.

    I don't see the need for more categories.
  19. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I disagree. What's the purpose of a definition if it doesn't reflect the functionality of the lens on the camera?

    For all intents and purposes, that voigtlander functions just like any other adapted manual lens - i.e several of the camera's functions don't work with it.
  20. danimal

    danimal Mu-43 Supporter

    Dec 31, 2012
    Oakland, California
    If I take my old K-mount lens off my Pentax K1000 and use it on a modern K-mount camera is it no longer native because it doesn't use autofocus or other functions?


    A native lens is one that has the native mount. What if Oly was to come out with a manual camera that didn't use lens electronics but was m4/3 mount. The Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye would work just fine on it as well as the Voigtlanders. Electronics and autofocus are optional. The mount is not.