Looking for suggestions on cheap lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by dhewie84, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. dhewie84

    dhewie84 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    I've read about the cheap cctv lenses, but they seem to have a pretty small area for getting sharp pictures. Are there any others that I can look into? I'm new to this, but I'm looking for something to use in low light that is faster than the kit lens for quicker subjects. I'm gathering I would want something at least an F2. Not sure yet what focal length I would want, but I'm thinking 30-40mm is probably the longest. Not sure what most lenses can be had for, but around $50 (including an adapter would be even better) or less would be a nice start. Thanks!
  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    You can get a good adapter for around $30, sometime less. Make sure it stops the manual focus lens down when you set the aperture.

    You could probably get a decent 50mm legacy lens for under $50. It would be manual focus. They made tons of them in film days, and they are often among the best lenses for any given system. You can get a good Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f1.8 on ebay for under $50, probably a lot under. Some sellers will try to sell this lens at a premium, but don't pay it. The fotodiox adapter for it is being sold right now on Amazon for around $16. And there are examples on ebay for around $30. I use both the adapter and lens.

    You might get other brands for the same price. I shot OM film cameras so know more about that system.

    Bear in mind that a 50mm on the m4/3 sensor is a telephoto lens, equivilent to the FOV of a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera. And don't just buy the cheapest adapter you find. Fotodiox is good; I'm sure others have brands they can recommend. But some of the cheapest ones are real junk and won't allow the lens to focus on infinity. Some lack aperture functionality.
  3. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    Fast, wide-ish, cheap legacy lenses are fairly few, unfortunately.

    The 35mm/1.7 c-mount (CCTV) lenses you mention are cheap and very capable for the price. You are correct that they are only sharp in the center and they exhibit a "swirly" bokeh that some might find distracting. Many have pointed out that they can also suffer from prodigious lens flare. To get an idea of what sorts of results you might expect, you should check out the sample image archive. You can pick one up for around US$30 (including an adapter), so it doesn't cost much to sate your curiosity.

    Another lens that might fit your needs would be a Konica 40mm/1.8 pancake. To me, this is a superior all-purpose lens than the c-mount. Since the Konica mount had one of the shorter registers among the SLRs, the Konica adapter is shorter than many others (though no where near as short as the c-mount). This also means that it's difficult/impossible to adapt Konica lenses for use on DSLRs, which keeps demand (and thus price) down a bit for these lenses. With a little looking around, you can probably squeeze a Konica 40mm/1.8 and Konica AR-to-:43: adapter into a $50 budget.
  4. dhewie84

    dhewie84 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    Those look like a couple of good options to look into, thanks.
  5. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    You'll have to get a bit longer for really good options. Russian is the way to go for what you're after - cheap and good. Anything in the Helios, Industar, or Jupiter lines is worth looking at. The MIR-1B is probably the best fit within your range.
  6. edwardconde

    edwardconde Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Fujian 35mm is a sharp lens for cheap.. you can also get a 24mm f2.8 from SLR give you a close 50mm but at f2.8 rather than the usual 1.4 or 1.8...

    Other than that its 50mm & 28mm glass that is the cheapest..
  7. sugarbaker

    sugarbaker Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 6, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Longer than you specified, but one of my favorite lenses obtained for less than $50 is my minolta md 45mm f2. If you we're willing to get a f2.8, your options are greater. I really like my minolta md and canon fd adapters. In each, I have a 24mm f2.8, 35mm f2 (out of your price range probably, but ubtainable on eBay and other sources), 28mm f2.8. Right now, my favorite lens is my canon fd 20mm f2.8... Keep in mind though that a sigma 19mm f2.8 auto focus can be obtained for about the same price new... Although my biased opinion is that the canon 20mm makes better photos.

    Long story short, a minolta or canon 28mm f2.8 can be had for around $45-60 depending on condition. Depending on what body you're using, this might be fast enough due to great high iso performance and wonderful image stabilization (olympus omd).
  8. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Real Name:
    Sean Rastsmith
    As stated, your best bet is a 28mm. Vivitar made quite a few in both 2.8 and f2 varieties in all kinds of mounts. Getting a 28mm f2 probably is out of your budget, though. I also have the MD 45mm and love it. Probably my most go-to lens.
  9. dhewie84

    dhewie84 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    So is an F2.8 going to be that much better than the kit lens on my G5? I thought I had read that with adapted lenses you have to stop down one stop to get a sharp picture, so that would get me to the same aperture as the kits lens (although at equivalent focal length of some lenses, the kit lens could be at 5.6). I just want to find something where I can get a couple stops better for taking quicker action shots of the kids indoors.
  10. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    Just be aware, unless you live in a house with large rooms, 45mm or higher can feel pretty "tight", or "long", indoors. Plus, if you shoot at those focal lengths at say f2 or faster, your DOF is going to be very shallow (how shallow depends on how close you are, of course). That makes it very tricky to reliably focus on speedy kiddos.

    Don't let me discourage you from going that way if you expect the challenge and are willing to live within those constraints.

    If you're willing to stretch your budget a little bit, the Sigma 19 and 30 buy you autofocus, as well as a faster aperture than a kit lens.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  11. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Real Name:
    I would confirm that you definitely need a large room to use the 45mm indoors unless you are only going to do head shots with limited DOF.
  12. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I know you said not up to 50mm, but really, a fast 50 is the cheapest thing. You can get an f/1.8 super cheap. For not much more, you can get a 1.4. If you post a WTB for a fast 50 and include an adapter, you might find some folks eager for a buyer.

    A fast 35 is more expensive.

    If you are in the US, send me a PM. I have some old stuff lying around. For $10 (basically, to cover shipping), I'll be happy to send you an OM to m43 adapter, and a hard-luck 50mm/1.8 This 1.8 has a terrible aperture ring (it works, but it's in need of repair. It's not smooth in it's clicks) and it has a slight fungus. Also, there are no caps (front or back), but I'll wrap it up to be protected.

    If you are mechanically inclined, you can probably repair it and clean it and have a nice little lens. At the least, you'd get an OM adapter for $10 shipped, and still get to test out an MF lens for kicks.

    Send me a PM. If you're outside of the states, sorry but I wouldn't be able to arrange anything.
  13. dhewie84

    dhewie84 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    Yeah, I've not paid much attention to what I shoot at most often. I'll have to take a look at my pictures and play around with the camera.
  14. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Check your local Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. They often have old lenses at really good prices, though sometimes you have to buy the camera they're attached to as well. A little while back I picked up 2 Pentax 50mm lenses. One separate for $10, and the attached to a broken K1000 for $15.

    Once you have a lens, you can get an adapter on ebay or Amazon pretty cheap. The more common mounts like Pentax, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, or Canon can be bought under $20 usually.

    You might luck out and find a 35mm lens, but 50mm tends to be the most common since it was the standard lens for 35mm cameras.

  15. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    Yeah, f/2.8 is within a stop of what what you can get with the kit zoom, so you are approaching the point of diminishing returns. Especially considering that you're shooting a fast moving subject which makes manual focusing more challenging. The G5 performs well enough at higher ISOs that I would suggest you'd just be better shooting with the kit lens you've already go and just boost the ISO a bit if you don't have enough light.

    I've enjoyed shooting with legacy primes and I feel I've learned a lot about photography by working with the limitations they have (no zoom, no AF, etc.), but for pics of the kids I almost always reach for my native lenses. If you're curious about using the cheap, old lenses there are some great suggestions throughout this thread, but I would suggest that for the type of shooting you've described you'll get better results by shooting with what you've got until you save up enough $$ to buy yourself a fast native lens (e.g. the P20/1.7, PL25/1.4, O17/1.8 or P14/2.5)
  16. dhewie84

    dhewie84 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    Great point! In all this I forgot I'd be manually focusing, which I'm sure would be very difficult. Still might be worth trying for use in other situations.
  17. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2013
    It builds character.
  18. sugarbaker

    sugarbaker Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 6, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    I will also confirm (despite my recommendation) that the MD 45 is a little long for in the house. Something to look at in regards to focusing is learning how to use a scale focus system... Basically set focus for a guesstimated distance and fire away. It's harder when using wide aperture due to shallow depth of field, but something to look into.

    I will address you speed issue by saying that my MD f2.8 is easily sharper than my kit lens when wide open and gives a noticeably thinner depth of field for better isolation. This can't be said for all lenses... Perhaps I got a lucky copy. Someone else mentioned vivitar; I've used a number of vivitar lenses with excellent results, and an equal number with lousy outcomes. Vivitar was manufactured by a number of different companies, so try before you buy if possible.
  19. rdo

    rdo Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 26, 2012

    For indoor shots of fast moving kids i recommend to get one of the sigmas (or both). They have very quick and accurate AF. And you can use them fully open - they are still sharp. This way you can shoot without flash.

    And they are cheap - the best value for money in m4/3.
  20. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    Good reminder on the Vivitars. I think you'll have the best luck with this brand if you look for lenses from their "Series 1" line.