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Legacy Lens Resolution on m43

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by BrundleFly, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. BrundleFly

    BrundleFly Mu-43 Regular

    40
    May 6, 2015
    Ontario
    Hey everyone,

    Just fully committed to the m43 format and was interested in adding some more legacy glass to my collection. Came across this video by the often reviled Tony Northup.

    He makes the argument that adapting full frame lenses on an m43 body is a bad idea because the relative pixel density of m43 sensors is quite high at 64 megapixels, meaning images taken on legacy glass will appear extremely soft. He suggests highly recommends using a focal length reducer to combat this effect.

    Is there any truth to his claims? What are you experiences using older legacy glass on m43 cameras? Is a focal length reducer an important addition to my collection?
     
  2. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I'd say it totally depends, to the point where making blanket recommendations is pointless.

    My 90mm f2.8 macro is probably the sharpest lens I own, and I'd happily put it up against the native lenses.

    But it also depends on your expectations. Would you call this extremely soft?

    15676896803_410f85112f_b.

    You can see the full 100% view here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129725107@N04/15676896803/sizes/o/
     
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  3. BrundleFly

    BrundleFly Mu-43 Regular

    40
    May 6, 2015
    Ontario
    Wow that is a really nice shot and a great demonstration of your point. How has your experience been with your telephotos?
     
  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Limited experience with 5 or 6 legacy lenses. All fall short of their reputation to my eye except one. The one is a a Kiron 105mm macro which is sharp.

    Others like a couple of Tairs and Minoltas don't impress.

    Some of it may be lack of contrast. Legacy lenses can be less contrasts and that, along with poorer light transmission than we're used to for a specific f-stop can reduce the apparent sharpness of an image.

    It's highly dependent on the lens. One thing you can count on though is that an especially good legacy lens will be expensive. An inexpensive one probably does nothing special, but is a way to get a new FL, or a larger aperture for less.
     
  5. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Maybe I am not too picky, but I don't have any issue in sharpness and contrast with the legacy glass I have. For the most part wide open can be soft, but stopped down I have no problems. Check out the showcase to see what some legacy lenses can do.
     
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  6. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I have a Enna Munchen 240mm/f4.5 and a Tamron 300mm/f5.6.

    I would say that the Tamron is at least as sharp as my Panasonic 100-300mm. However, it's usability is dramatically worse. Manually focusing a long telephoto is a bit nightmarish. And the modern lenses perform far better at large apertures. But if you have enough light, stopped down, on a tripod, with time to focus on a relatively still subject, they can do very well. Remove any of those factors, and expect image quality to suffer substantially.

    This is from the Tamron 300mm (not the higher end SP version) at f/11, cropped slightly. I believe I paid about $50 for this. I'd be happy to sell it now that I have my AF telephoto.

    16296860565_f95856a747_b.

    And full size, again: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129725107@N04/16296860565/sizes/o/

    If I applied the same degree of shot discipline to my Panasonic 100-300mm, I might be able to get similar sharpness. But with OIS, autofocus, and a zoom, it's begging to be used more casually - it means that the shot that I get might not be perfect, but I at least get the shot, unlike my legacy lenses!
     
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  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I spent over a year basically only using legacy glass on my EM5 and about the same amount of time using it on an Fuji XE1 before that. As @Speedliner@Speedliner said, the Kiron 105mm macro is a great lens and super sharp. I also found the Canon FD 400mm ƒ4.5 to perform very well for me, although it did have a tendency for bad CA in bright light but you can correct most of that in post.

    Here is a Flickr gallery of some images with the Kiron: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjEPX121

    Here is a Flickr gallery of some images with the Canon: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjEYhrJr
     
  8. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Out of my legacy glass:

    Vivitar Series 1 90mm F2.5, Tokina AT-X 90 2.5 - incredible even wide open, only issue is flare/purple fringes on high contrast edges, totally amazing stopped down. Would easily believe the rep as some of the sharpest lenses ever made in the history of sharp lenses.

    Olympus 200/4 (e.zuiko single coat) - slight glow and signifcant CA at f4, by f8 capable of spitting out very sharp stuff that will moire on the AA-filterless E-P5

    Vivitar 135mm Close Focusing - not the world's sharpest lens but better than the 40-150r @ 135 while also being faster (though pretty flarey), by F5.6/8 significantly sharper.

    Pentax SMC-M 50mm 1.4 - very glowy and slightly colour fringey wide open, gets very good at f/2, great thereafter.

    I don't necessarily buy the pixel density argument - there are others - filter stack size, rear element reflections, un-baffled light bouncing around inside an adapter, older styles of lens coatings, more prominent front elements - that can complicate using older lenses (especially wide open or without a hood), and I think those would be a better line of argument. But there is no great leap in performance to deal with pixel density that modern lenses address, that I can see anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    This was shot on an FDn 50mm f/1.4, wide open. Sure, I added a bit of sharpening in post, but I tend to do that even with native lenses.

    21631830264_dcaa6e6fd4_b. .

    Here's one shot with an FDn 100mm f/2, wide open again. Again, I added a bit of sharpening in post, but not much. It's sharp enough for me.

    21818097034_686fe96165_b.

    Lastly, here's one of the same FDn 100mm f/2 on a 1st-gen RJ focal reducer, shot at f/1.7. Some sharpening applied in post, but I'm happy with how the lens performs.

    22066823368_83e6c1ded3_b.


    Your criteria of "sharp enough" may be different than others, but for my intents, my FD glass is sharp enough for me. One thing I will add, as many others have said, is that when using legacy glass wide open, you'll tend to get more CA than you would with native glass.
     
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  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I think the resolution problem is the usual "outresolve" debate: a lens will not perform worst because of a better sensor, it will get a little better instead (and you can better see the lens limits when pixel peeping). A focal reducer should increase a little the resolution but this is another matter.

    The main problems I found adapting were "glow" with fast lenses wide open, some CA, extremely low contrast with tele lenses (on cloudy days), weight, colour casts I do no like, mechanical issues (non smooth focus, focal reducer blocking the aperture ring), etc.
    I got one more this morning (Super Takumar 200/4, 60 euros :) ) and there are still a couple on my wishlist.

    Focal reducer is a nice toy to get an extra stop of light and DoF: a Nikon 35/2 becomes a nice 25 f1.4, or a 300/4 goes to 216/2.8.
     
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  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I really want a focal reducer and a Canon 400/2.8. It will give me an approx 600mm ƒ2.0 lens that would just rock for early morning or late evening.
     
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    There's a big difference between not being as sharp as it would be on a FF sensor and being soft. Yes you will get lower resolution on m4/3 vs a FF sensor. No it doesn't mean all lenses will be soft.

    I think using a focal reducer is not a terrible idea and can improve, but it is NOT required to get good results.
     
  13. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Basically, you can let the pictures do the talking, and see whether Tony Northrup deserves his oft-reviled reputation.

    In that same video he calls both the 12-35/2.8 and 12-40/2.8 "just not especially sharp," which is, well...all I'll say is that people have done lots of comparisons with L lenses on 6Ds and the jury's not in yet...
     
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  14. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Yeah. Northrup can be annoying and misleading. His reviews are very base level and rarely dig very deep to get the best out of any camera he reviews or compares. Very superficial and subjective. Don't even watch his "equivalence" video.
     
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  15. JoFT

    JoFT Mu-43 Veteran

    360
    Nov 11, 2014
    Stuttgart
    Johannes
    I made some experiences with my Zeiss Lenses. Very nice is the following comparison:

    • Oly 75mm f1.8
    • Zeiss Planar 85mm f1.4
    Wide open the Zeiss lens is pretty soft, but stopped down to f4 it comes out great.

    But there something funny with this old glass: It is a lot of fun using them: because you get feedback like focus peaking - which I do not get on DSLR´s
     
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  16. JoFT

    JoFT Mu-43 Veteran

    360
    Nov 11, 2014
    Stuttgart
    Johannes
    I like to watch his videos, I find it kind of funny - especially if it comes to physics.... Sometimes the voice of "the angry photographer" comes into my mind: "Are you kidding, Tony???" ;-)
     
  17. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I feel like the problem isn't that's he's subjective, per se, but that he's superficially objective. He takes theoretical math as gospel, only uses one source for his numbers (DXOMark) and doesn't seem particularly interested in understanding the complex methodology behind it, preferring to reduce it all to the one number that's easiest to see (Perceptual Megapixels! ISO! Whoo!) There are lots of caveats and counter-arguments and data to support alternative conclusions. You can say "yes, that $2000 FF lens nominally has 25% more resolution than a M4/3 lens, but that's the difference between a tack-sharp 300dpi print that's 20x26 inches vs one that's 24x36 inches. Do you frequently print that size?"

    I'm not sure he actually likes taking pictures or looks at the pictures he takes very often. Lots of gear, though...
     
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  18. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    The best part is seeing his wife. I still can't reconcile how he landed her. He loves to show off his wealth too...his house, car, gear etc.
     
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Shooting a high quality film SLR with a focusing screen optimized for manual focus lenses made me realize...

    ...I am badly spoiled by mirrorless. Even my GX1 with its touch screen magnification and no EVF at all made getting critical focus so much faster and more accurate than any film SLR, let alone a DSLR with their tiny, dim viewfinders...

    That said, I do very much enjoy using my medium format rangefinder. Much quicker focussing than an SLR.
     
  20. JoFT

    JoFT Mu-43 Veteran

    360
    Nov 11, 2014
    Stuttgart
    Johannes
    I guess the only thing which interests Tony are the counts on his Youtube videos.... ;-)