is it just me?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by dixeyk, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I see discussions going on about this lens and that lens (some of which have a price tag that's more than my house payment) and I wonder if I am just hopelessly out of touch when it comes to this stuff. I have an EPL-1 and some Hexanon lenses and the stray Super Takumar and OM lens tucked away somewhere. I have no complaints with my gear. The quality of my images (or lack thereof is) is definitely not a gear issue. My lenses are much more capable than I will ever be.

    That said, I often look at the Nokton's, Summicron's and wonder if what I am seeing is a case of diminishing returns. Years ago I worked in HiFi and we used to have a saying that at $500 (for a simple system) you could hear a difference over a basic rack system and that difference climbed pretty steadily until you got to about $1500. After that point the increase in sound quality was still there but much MUCH smaller. Once you learn to hear what good audio sounds like (and appreciate it) forever after you find your tolerance for bad audio to be pretty small. I assume once you've used a Summicron or similar the thought of using a Super Takumar or Hexanon is pretty comical.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love to step up to something like a Summicron but right now I doubt I'd be able to tell the difference between it and my Hexanon 40/1.8.

    Kevin the Lesser
  2. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 13, 2010
    And if you can tell the difference, which is better (in mulitple practical applications)?
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    That's a good point. I have a British amplifier because I love the sound and am willing to pay more for that sound. Then again HiFi costs less than good glass apparently because some of the better lenses still catches me by surprise when I see the price.

    Like I said, I doubt I'd be able to tell the difference, although I suspect that like HiFi I could learn to see the difference and once I did there would be no turning back.
  4. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    You'll definitely be able to tell the difference. I went through that same train of thought, and was happy enough with the lenses I was using. One day I stumbled upon using enlarging lenses for macro work, and the sharpness/color of the inexpensive lens I grabbed off eBay was immediately apparent. I couldn't believe how much more the images popped. I suspect I'd run into the same experience with regular lenses, but unfortunately I can't afford those just yet =).
  5. J. Allen

    J. Allen Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    It seems to me that for those who have the legacy glass it's a fun thing to do and worth a try given the lack of a lot of native lenses for micro 4/3 at this point. There are also those that are looking to transition to something like an M9 so they start out with micro 4/3 and buy a good lens like a Summicron 35 until they move up to the highest level in small camera full sensor sytems. That's my plan.
  6. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    "Small increase in sound quality" is a pretty vague term. There are subtle differences that you may or may not appreciate, and they vary from system to system (lens to lens). For most people (including me) they're not worth the price jump.
    BTW I've heard a lot of good things about both Super Takumars and Hexanons :smile:
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yeah I suppose that was pretty vague. In the case of an amplifier for instance. The better the amp (assuming the same speakers) you'll be able to hear where the different instruments are sitting. Better amps typically have more headroom and cleaner power meaning they can play at louder volumes with less distortion. Also, some amps have a warmer sound (which I like). I think they sound more musical (or more like live music). The difference between a $500 amp and a $1500 amp is usually pretty significant meaning you can hear it without much effort. The difference in sound between a $1500 amp and a $5000 amp IMHO is quite a bit smaller and in my case I find that the difference in quality doesn't warrant the price difference. I guess if I had the money to spend I would feel differently. I am assuming that the same holds true for lenses. Maybe I could appreciate the difference between my 40/1.8 Hexanon or a 50/1.4 Super Takumar and a 40 Summicron (no argument that the Summicron is a superior lens) but I don't think I am at the point where I'd pay the money for that Summicron.

    As to the previous poster's idea that a good many folk might be using these m43 cameras as a stepping stone to something like a Leica. That may be. It wasn't something that had occurred to me. I am quite impressed by the quality of the EPL1 (even if that brands me as a dilettante) and so far haven't any aspirations to marry into the house of Oskar.
  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I'm not sure, but I believe the better lenses show improvements in color and contrast mainly.

    I know cheap lenses suffer in contrast, particularly.

    I did try a couple of Noktons I think it was through I guess I tried the wrong lenses, because I found them very soft wide open -- too soft to justify the price for me, and no sharper than my cheap legacy glass.

    Perhaps a Summicron would have been better? Or perhaps I just tried the wrong Nokton (from the little I've read, while the lenses are all "expensive" (compared to Rokkors and SuperTaks), there is still significant model variation, with some being an excellent fit for m43, and others not so much. Or, perhaps I was using the lens wrong. Maybe they shin stopped down, but at the time, I was looking for portrait lenses for my m43 (ended up with an OM 50mm 2.0 macro for now for portraits. Sharp enough wide open that I don't have to stop down).

    Too, I think I read that newer lenses might have back element coatings to help with ghosting/bleeding issues with digital sensors, which older lenses might not have. So, it might be the year of the lens, too. Not sure if that's true, but that's what I've read on forums like DPR ("I don't believe anything until I read it on DPR" lol).
  9. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    Respectfully disagree here :cool: although I haven't really used expensive ones.
    Color and contrast may be the differences, sure, but also bokeh (don't underestimate it), flare resistance, CA (not sure how much old lenses differ), sharpness at wide apertures, corner sharpness. I'm talking in general of course, since I'm not familiar with Leicas in particular.
  10. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    > I assume once you've used a Summicron or similar the thought of using a Super
    > Takumar or Hexanon is pretty comical.

    No, it just does not work like that. You get addicted to lenses after a while. I have several Summicrons, prefer the look of the collapsible Summicron. Summarits, Elmars, Jupiter-3's (four of them), J-8, Nikkors, Takumars, Sonnars, Canon FL, FD, and Canon Leica thread mount, Simlar, and those are the lenses that I can use on the EP2. The Hexanons will have to wait for me to get an adapter. I use the 57/1.4, 28/1.8, and 135/3.5 on a Konica FT-1.
  11. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010

    I would imagine that newer can certainly mean better coatings and perhaps improvements in design (although if HiFi has taught me anything its that one shouldn't assume newer sounds better).

    The price difference of top lenses still surprises me. Granted a 50/2 (for M series) Summicron is considered one of the finest lenses in the world but it's around $1500 used where a Super Takumar 50/1.4 is around $100, a Contax 45/2 is $300 and a 50/1.7 Hexanon costs around $15? When I look at the images they produce even I can see some differences but for my purposes I can't say that the Summicron 15x better than the Super Takumar, 6x better than the Contax and 100x better than the Hexanon. I assume for some folks the difference is well worth the price. I can't fault them, clearly they see the value...maybe in time I will too but right now it seems highly unlikely.

    I will say that as an investment Leica lenses are pretty great.
  12. trisberg

    trisberg Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2009
    In my opinion it all depends and throwing more money at the problem (that is if it really is a problem) doesn't always give you better results.

    I think in general we pay way too much attention to the lenses we use or would like to have. So what if you could put a "better" lens on your camera. Will that automatically translate into better and more interesting pictures? Don't think so.

    Lens performance can be measured and analyzed so we spend a disproportionate amount of attention to this one variable. When did you last see an analysis of some landscape composition or the quality of the light in a nature scene? There are some articles dealing with this but nowhere near as many as published lens tests and pictures of resolution charts.

    Give me a decent lens and some good light and then it's up to me to do the rest. And I've also seen some really nice work done with sub-par lenses.

    • Like Like x 1
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I can see getting hooked on a lens. Personally I don't think my bank account could take it if I was hooked on high end glass. Again, I want o be clear, I think Leica and other high end glass is remarkable, its just so far outside of what I can see myself doing that I have a hard time picturing it (no pun intended) on my camera.
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yeah, as I said any shortcomings in my images are not because of equipment issues. They are operator error. Bets image I have ever taken was from a little point and shoot hanging out of a 9th floor window during the WTO riots (the second was me running for my life from cops and tear gas).
  15. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    It's the person behind the lens that makes the photograph. There was a photojournalist in the 1950's, may have been George Rodger who went round the UK photographing the British on holiday, Brighton, Blackpool, Torquay and the like. He produced some iconic photographs of that era and a now vanished life. Professionally he used a Leica, for that assignment his camera of choice was something like a box brownie. Didn't stop him producing some great photographs.

  16. pdh

    pdh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 6, 2010
    That's true ... and it's also true that a car is only an object for transporting me from point to point ... so why don't I drive a small grey utility box that does no more than 30mph? ... (this analogy will start to break down if I push it too hard) ... I have an E-P2, and I doubt I'll use the extra thousandths of a second shutter speed or other features it gives me over a PL1, and it's uglier than the GF1 when the viewfinder's mounted on it ... but on the other hand, every time I see it I want to pick it up and use it ... in the same way, I'm sure my Lumix 14-45mm lens is a very adequate lens indeed, and indeed I like it very much and use it more than my other lenses ... but it doesn't stop me hankering after a 12mm Heliar ...

    Damn ... I'll stop maundering on because I am making my point very badly
  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    i am in a privileged position in that my partner has invested heavily in some of the best leica lenses available, plus I went through a phase where I scoured ebay and other sources and could afford to acquire some classic legacy lenses.

    My conclusion is that more expensive lenses do offer a different, more distinguishably look. Whether they are worth the price is a different matter. I am currently learning and grooving on a zeiss sonnar 50/1.5.

    Zeiss lenses do have a very distinctive look... cool colours and a very 3d feel. I like the zeiss look.. it fits my personal taste in images

    would I buy a noctilux... probably not... a summilux 75/1.4.....maybe...The results from taking pictures with a good lens can be inspirational and very satisfying.. but then again.. until very recently my 'most interesting' picture on flickr was taken with a 10 year old 3 megapixel Canon ixus... its still in my top five despite taking shots with some of the finest lenses available...other pictures in my top 50 were taken with an iphone, a Canon g9 and a Canon 10D

    explore other lenses... but don't expect them to make you a better photographer

    people take pictures.. not cameras
  18. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    I started photography as a serious hobby when I was eleven, mowed lawns all Summer to buy a Minolta Hi-Matic 9. Delivered newspapers the next year to by an SLR.

    Gear accumulates over 40 years. Once upon a time, not too long ago, a Nikkor 55/1.2 ran $100 at a camera shop. AF lenses put the manual lenses into the pits. Summicron ran $200. Buy, trade, repair, over 40 years- did better than the real estate market.
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010

    We've all obsessed about gear from time to time and the longer you are at something you understand that it's NEVER about the gear. For instance, I make my living with computers so I spend money and buy myself good hardware and software because my livelihood depends on it. A pro photographer will spend more on a camera body because it has to withstand the rigors of daily use (weather sealed, more durable, longer shutter life etc.). All of that is very reasonable. It just seems to me that lenses (some more than others) have attained a mythic status and their pricing is like 90's California real estate.
  20. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    Maybe it's about trusted old brand? Sorta like buying a BMW because you know it's gonna be great rather than looking and trying?

    But regardless of the brand name MF lenses are good buys because prices of comparable AF ones are usually quite a bit higher. For instance, a lens comparable in its purpose to the Super Takumar 50/1.4 would cost $400-500 nowadays. Canon FD 85/1.2 can go for $500-600 on ebay but 85/1.2L currently is almost $2000. I see similar proportions for other nice lenses (Konica 57/1.2 vs Canon 50/1.2L for instance) and Canon's lenses are not the most expensive among major brands.