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Manual lenses - native or adapted?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by DefectiveMonk, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Native M43

    2 vote(s)
  2. Adapted

    9 vote(s)
  3. Both

    10 vote(s)
  4. You want to shoot manual why?

    0 vote(s)
  1. DefectiveMonk

    DefectiveMonk Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2018
    Columbus, Ohio, US
    I'm trying to get better at manual shooting. Primarily because I seem to get more enjoyment out of it than thinking I can do better than the camera (unlikely) at focusing or exposure. To that end, I'm considering getting a manual lens to see if I'd enjoy it.

    I'm probably going to start with something like the 7Artisans 25mm 1.8 just because it's sooo cheap. I know you get what you pay for but it's a very inexpensive way to try out manual shooting. Image quality is a secondary (or lower) consideration at this point.

    What I'm wondering about is, if I end up liking manual lenses and I want something nicer, do I go with something like a native M43 Mitakon or an adapted Olympus OM lens (or other adapted lens). Looking at it from a price perspective, there really doesn't seem to be a huge difference in what I'd pay for a Mitakon versus an OM in good shape plus adapter. I doubt I'd ever get to the point where a Voightlander or equivalent would make sense from a financial versus use perspective. Obviously there are focal length considerations (what I'd get from native versus adaped) but what else should I be thinking about?
  2. JanW

    JanW Mu-43 Regular

    I voted native and I mean lenses with AF and then used in MF.
    This will allow the camera to activate MF assist when you turn the focus ring. You have to activate it with a separate button if you have lenses without CPU.
    If you want MF lenses without electronics then perhaps the image quality of the native lenses will be better. I wasn't very impressed by my OM 50/1.8 although I have seen nice photos others have made with it.
  3. Mike Wingate

    Mike Wingate Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 21, 2017
    Mike Wingate
    I like the idea of the native lenses fitting properly. Some having OIS.
  4. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    The focal length is the single most important thing you should consider. The Mitakon 25mm/f0.95 has no equal in any adapted lens. It's smaller, lighter, sharper, and has a much faster aperture. And when you compare it to something like a Canon FD 24mm/f1.4, it's also radically less expensive.

    Adapted film lenses are really fun to use if you want longer focal lengths, but once you get to anything shorter than 35mm (even 50mm, I might argue), I would forget about it. You'll find better value, quality, and form factor in native lenses. I mean, comparing an Olympus OM 21mm/f2 for a $1000 to a Panasonic 20mm/1.7 for $200? The Panasonic absolutely dominates the adapted film lens in any way you can think of, unless you really love manually focusing.

    The only exception to this philosophy is if you run multiple systems. A nice adapted 50mm/1.4 makes a fantastic short telephoto / portrait lens on M4/3, and it is an excellent normal lens on an FF system.

    You can also change up the focal length argument a bit through the addition of an inexpensive focal reducer (like a Lens Turbo or RJ Focal Reducer), which can give you a bit more utility from your existing lenses.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    If you want manual lenses, what does it matter what mount it has, other than the need for an adapter? And if you plan to have several lenses with the same mount, changing them is no different, you just change at the adapter instead of the body.

    My suggestion is do the research on specific lenses and the pros and cons. If it looks like something you might like, pick it up. That could be a Rokkor, OM, M42, voightlander mft, Leica R, Zhongyi mft, whatever. They all will essentially function the same on your body.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    I'm not the original poster, but perhaps what he really means is would go you with an old legacy film lens design or would you buy a "native" implying a new modern design lens for manual focus work (not being so much concerned with adapted or not per se)? When you first look at strictly manual focus lenses, your first through is probably if the brand new releases are actually optically better because they are new designs. Or do the old legacy lenses offer nearly identical image quality for often very little out of pocket expense.

    Of course a lot of the newer released manual lenses are in 4/3rds focal length meaning most are in that 10-25 mm range which back in the old legacy days most of those would have been considered ultrawide. With legacy film era lenses you are often looking more at 35mm+ focal lengths.
  7. DefectiveMonk

    DefectiveMonk Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2018
    Columbus, Ohio, US
    Thank you. The fact that longer lenses make more sense adapted wasn't something I'd thought about. When I mentioned focal length I was thinking more like "I'm not going to find a 25mm length in an old film lens but 28mm is probably close enough and do I really care."

    That's really what I'm asking. What does it matter? Maybe it doesn't. Or maybe it doesn't if you don't care about X.

    Thank you. That's exactly where I was going with this.

    One of the other things I just thought of is that it's my understanding that a lot of the older lenses didn't have coatings which affects flare, among other things.
  8. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Most of the manual lenses I use are adapted, but I don't mind using MF lenses in native mount & will sometimes manually focus native AF lenses too.
    Start with what you've got (which in my case was adapted lenses). Later if you see an interesting lens in another mount you can probably adapt it. Sometimes the adapter can actually add features too.
  9. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    I picked up a late 70's/early 80's Olympus 50mm ƒ1.8 in perfect condition from a thrift store for the princely sum of $6 the other day, my adaptor for 8 or 9 or 10 bucks off eBay/Amazon. Check out the Thrift Shop Finds and Adapted Lens showcase threads to see what people are getting and doing with cheap adapted glass.

    Some of these older lenses compete with modern lenses in terms of sharpness, others, not so much, many can't compete in quality but make up for it in charm.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. DefectiveMonk

    DefectiveMonk Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2018
    Columbus, Ohio, US
    Thrift store. Mind blown. Never a place I would have even considered to look but it makes sense. Now I have an agenda for the weekend!
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  11. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi, I guess it depends on your budget and how fast an aperture you need...

    You can get a good old 28/2.8 for $20-75USD, and a Lens Turbo II will make that a ~20/2.0.
    50/1.4 and 58/1.4 (e.g. Rokkor) are well under $100USD.
    Good 85's (e.g. Rokkor 1.8 or 2.0) tend to be around $200-300, at which point the new Samyang 1.4 looks attractive, although a 100/2.8 + a FR might also make sense.

    A new Mitakon or Samyang is faster, and likely to be sharper (especially wide-open), than most 'legacy' lenses, and the Mitakons are quite small:
    Review: Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens
    But it's going to cost more ($350) than several old lenses AND a focal reducer... consider:

    Lens Turbo II 'MD-Mu43' Focal Reducer - $150
    Rokkor 28/2.8 OR Vivitar 28/2.5 - $25-80 (~20 / 2.0 or 1.8 on FR)
    Rokkor 35/2.8 OR Minolta Celtic 35/2.8 - $25-75 (~25/2.0 on FR)
    Rokkor 45/2 $15-40 (~32/1.4 on FR)
    Rokkor 50/1.4 $50-70 (~35/1.0 on FR)
    Rokkor 58/1.4 $50-70 (~42/1.0 on FR)
    Rokkor 100/2.5 $90-200 (~70/1.8 on FR)
    OR Rokkor 100/3.5 $80-95 (~70/2.5 on FR)
    AND/OR 150/2.8 1:1 macro ~$200
    Rokkor 135/2.8 $35-50 (~95/2.0 on FR)
    Minolta Celtic 200/4 or 4.5 $30-45

    I have all of these and they're all good lenses. Many are excellent. I've posted in the sample image threads here for several of them.
    These are typical eBay prices; you can often find much better prices if you look on Craigslist for old cameras; you might find a camera with a couple nice lenses for $50.

    If you're shooting portraits and want 25mm, than the Mitakon might make more sense, but a lot of photographers prefer longer lenses on mu-43 for portraiture, such as the 58 on a FR.

    If you're shooting landscapes or zone-focusing street, you probably will be stopping down anyways.

    If you need wider than 20mm, it probably makes sense to go native for that, as an adapted 16mm will be large (and a good one will be expensive), and it's hard to find wider than that for 35mm SLRs.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. DefectiveMonk

    DefectiveMonk Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2018
    Columbus, Ohio, US
    Wow. @barry13@barry13 , that's a super-helpful post! Thank you!
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  13. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 2, 2013
    If you get a modern manual focus lens from rokinon/samyang for example, it may be a full frame lens with a m4/3 mount. In that case you should consider getting it canon or nikon instead. That way you can choose to use a focal reducer or straight adapter and have the benefit of using one lens for two focal lengths. The rokinon 85mm lenses and 135mm f/2 are both pretty appealling in that regard
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 2, 2013
    • Agree Agree x 3
  15. junkyardsparkle

    junkyardsparkle haunted scrap heap Subscribing Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    Like, The Valley
    One more point that I didn't see mentioned is that if you get a focal reducer for Canon EF mount, you can adapt many other lens mounts to it with cheap adapters, making the initial cost of, say, a Lens Turbo II perhaps a little more reasonable for anybody who wants to play with legacy lenses.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. gnarlydog australia

    gnarlydog australia Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 23, 2015
    Brisbane, Australia
    Damiano Visocnik
    95% of my images are created with adapted and refitted manual focus lenses.
    Initially I started using native AF lenses in manual focus mode but the focus-by-wire wasn't for me: too erratic
    Not being able to properly compose the DOF in a image (lens would focus in wide-open mode) led me to experiment timidly with vintage lenses.
    And I never looked back since.

    My goal is not trying to achieve a sharper image than I can with my M.Zuikos, that would be very hard (read impossible), but I look for traits that most modern lenses don't have: particular render of the bokeh.
    In a world of creamy bokeh I get bored (goal of some hi-end modern lenses) and I get annoyed by the nervous bokeh and hexagons in the speckled highlight of most modern zoom lenses (and majority of SLR lenses too).
    I have the Zonlai 25mm f1.8: I find it a very fine lens for its focal length, much better than any other one I have tried in that category.
    It is sharp, very sharp. It has a round aperture that gives nice round bokeh balls (no artefacts of penta/hexagons). Focusing at very distant subjects (infinity) is tricky: the helicoid has a fair bit of throw meaning that any tiny movement of the focus ring equals to a very big shift in the focused field. However that works very well for close-up subjects.
    I am NOT a fan of adapted SLR lenses: most become rather bulky on a Micro 4/3 camera once you add the adapter.
    However, I find refitted lenses from Olympus fixed-lens rangefinder outstanding, in sharpness and bokeh, the F.Zuiko 32mm f1.7 the jewel in the crown.

    But manual focus has its limitations for me: I don't use those where I need to "shoot from the hip" (just touch the screen to get focus and take an image) or when I need to capture fast moving subjects that travel a different distances from me. There is where I resort back to automagic lenses.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
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