Is there an online primer or beginner's guide to legacy mounts?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by tanngrisnir3, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    I understand there's an entire world out there of quality, cheap legacy MF lenses to be had w/M4/3 cameras (a GH2, in my case), but I've never done this before and am about to get a number of Minolta and Zeiss lenses from the early 1980's that some relatives no longer have any use for.

    ** On edit ** Getting some Canon "FD" glass as well.

    You folks have been immediately helpful every time I've had a question, and rather than asking about each lens (and I won't have them until Thanksgiving) and dragging things out, is there some online resource I can access that is like a "M4/3 Legacy Glass Mounts 101" out there?

    After having checked out CL and some other resources, there is a LOT of interesting glass out there, and I'd like to have some foreknowledge before possibly making any purchases that wouldn't be advisable.


  2. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Yes, there is an online resource like that out there. It's called "the whole internet." The problem is that each lens comes from its own complete system that spanned decades. For example, Minolta had the SR mount that went from the 1950's until last decade:
    Minolta SR mount - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    While they had that mount, they also made the AF mount:
    Minolta AF - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So, if you want to know about a certain lens, you're going to have to compress the knowledge of decades into a quick summary, to know if the lens was worthwhile or not.

    Your Zeiss lenses could be any number of mounts, from large format, all the way to those little Contaflex nubs that aren't even real lenses. Your best bet is just to list the lenses in this thread as you come across them, and we can give you our input. In general though, zoom lenses aren't as worth adapting as prime lenses are. A prime of yesteryear performs nearly as well as a prime of today, and better than a zoom of today in most cases. A zoom of ages past, however, is of limited image quality, although since our cameras only use the center 1/4 of the lens elements, performance is usually improved. If you have Minolta AF/Maxxum lenses, those still work on Sony SLRs, so you're better off selling them and using the money to fund other lenses. Many Zeiss lenses are not worthwhile to mount on our cameras. Hopefully they are from a Contax/Yashica/Pentacon SLR, or a rangefinder.

    The most useful focal lengths are 50mm and below. Anything 20mm and lower is definitely worth keeping. A 24mm lens is awesome, as it's pretty much a "normal" lens for our cameras.
    Normal lens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A 35mm to 50mm provides a good portrait lens. You will most assuredly get a 50mm, hopefully it is f/1.4, as f/1.8 to f/2 lenses are a dime a dozen.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I didn't know anything about legacy lenses before joining this site. There's a lot of good info scattered around here, but not really gathered in one place! I browsed through the legacy lens sample image threads and then searched for other threads on those lenses here.

    There are also whole websites dedicated to lenses from various manufacturers, full of info and reviews but not m4/3-specific. Since you already have some legacy glass on the way, I'd advise to just play around with those for a while before you worry about purchasing more. By then you might have a better idea of what you like or what you are looking for (a specific "look," a preferred focal length, etc).
  4. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Excellent! I LOVE using the whole Internet! ;-)

    Thanks for the detailed info, I'll post the lenses after Thanksgiving when I've picked them up.

    I'm hoping one of them is around a 135mm prime, as I would find that quite useful, although I never do portraits.

    Are there any 'must have' legacies (from any manufacturer) that are sought after by M4/3 users? I do landscape and architecture almost exclusively, but have been dipping my toe into the macro world recently.
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    For the 135mm legacy primes, my two must-haves would be the Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 (comes largely in Contax/Yashica mount) and the Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 (comes largely in M42 screw mount), aka "Meyer Orestor 135mm f/2.8". The preset version of the latter lens contains 15 aperture blades and is also dubbed the "Bokeh Monster", while the newer version has 6 blades but better coatings. The Zeiss Sonnar is very sharp, and since you say some of the lenses you're picking up are Zeiss... maybe that one's in there. ;)
  6. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    Those DDR-made lenses often have problems with their aperture control mechanisms. In fact, more often than not. And they're not exactly easy to repair.

    The Canon FD 135/2.5 is an exceptionally nice and very well made lens.
  7. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011

    Ah! Thanks!

    What I was having trouble with was figuring out if I had to buy a zillion different adapters for all these different lenses.

    Do I understand correctly that I'm likely just going to need one adapter and various types of lenses will all fit in it? Or is it more likely that I'll need an assortment of adapters for multiple types of lenses.

    Sorry if these questions seem obvious, but as of yet I have never used an adapter of any type.
  8. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    All an adapter is, at the end of the day, is a chunk of metal.

    Look at a Minolta 50mm Rokkor lens as an example. It was made to work with older Minolta manual focus SLRs. That SLR is designed to have the lens a certain distance away from the film/sensor, and it has a specific mount shape that Minolta decided was best for their situation. So, a Minolta-micro4/3 adapter is a piece of metal that one one side attaches to your camera, the same way that a lens does. In fact, it is identical to the way that the back of your lens looks, just without the electronic contacts. The other end looks like the Minolta SLR mount, so that the Rokkor lens attaches to it just like it would to a Minolta SLR.

    The adapter just moves the lens far enough away from our cameras, and allows the lens to be mounted without allowing light in. You will need a specific adapter to replicate each type of camera, for every lens. So, if you end up getting:
    Minolta 28mm
    Minolta 50mm
    Minolta 85mm
    Canon FD 28mm
    Canon FD 55mm
    Canon FD 135mm

    You will need two mounts, one that mimics a Canon FD camera, and one that mimics a Minolta SR-mount camera.
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  9. Wes7

    Wes7 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 22, 2011
    You will need at least one adapter per mount type. For example, if some of the lenses are from a Nikon system, and some are from the Konica system, you will need just two adapters.

    That said, you may find it useful to buy an adapter for each lens you try and feel you will use regularly. Adapters can be had so cheap that it is worth the money for the convenience of not having to swap adapters from one lens to another.

    EDIT: Schnitz beat me to it.
  10. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks, schnitz & wes, that's what I needed to know.