Native m43 tele zoom vs legacy primes

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by TassieFig, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    I couldn't find any specific comparisons between the native m43 lenses vs legacy lenses so I have to ask.

    I'm after another lens or two to get some longer reach to complement my Oly 12-50mm. I'm on a very tight budget so I need to consider my options carefully. I'd love to play around with the MANY tempting and beautiful legacy lenses floating around but how do they actually compare to the native m43? Does anyone here ACTUALLY OWN and USE the Oly 40-150 or Pana 45-150 ALSO use legacy primes such as Hexanon, OM, Rokkor or similar in 85-200mm PRIMES? Specifically, I'm looking at one or two of ~85mm, 135mm and 200mm. Can you provide some insight comparing the quality of native vs legacy in terms of sharpness, contrast, bokeh and general use etc.

    If these legacy lenses were really cheap I'd probably go for that for now but it seems prices have increased recently + shipping to Australia often double the overall cost. The native m43 can be had for 100-200 + all the advantages of a modern lens...

    I'd love to see some pictures with direct comparisons and to hear from users who've used both :smile:
  2. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    My long primes are an OM 200 f4, FD 135 f2.5, and an FD 85 f1.8. My zooms are the M.ED 40-150 ($120 USD) and the 4/3 Zuiko 70-300 ($223USD) with an adapter ($110USD). I bought the 70-300 back when I used the E510 DSLR.

    I've owned the 200mm for 25 years. I have no use for it. Heavy lens. Nice IQ if you PP in some contrast.

    The 135 has a small speed advantage wide open over the 40-150, but it likes to be stopped down one or two clicks, so the advantage gets even smaller. In hindsight, I didn't need it. Cost me $45 USD. Any decent 135 f2.8 is almost as good and is half that price..

    The FD 85mm is my lower cost substitute for the ZD 75mm. Shoot the Canon lens at f2.5 and it's good. A bit soft wide open, Sometimes that doesn't matter if I need the speed. Still need the 40-140 though, as 85 is restrictive..It's my most expensive legacy lens at $120 USD and I would buy it again.

    So I suggest you get the 40-150 zoom if it's cheap and maybe you find a good price on a legacy lens later.
  3. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    I have the Pentax 50/1.7, Hexanon 55/3.5 macro, and Hexanon 50/1.7. Had Hexanon 57/1.4. At this focal length the Olympus 40-150 beats them all in sharpness at similar apertures. Sometimes you can't tell because you have to stop the primes down so much to get the f-number equal to the slow, modern zoom. So, at f4, for example, the 40-150 is definitely sharper than all the adapted lenses. At f8 I doubt you could tell.

    That said, the primes are all much more fun to use!
  4. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I recently went through the process of finding telephotos to go with the O12-50 and some native fast primes. Although I had a look at some legacy 85/135 mm primes (OM, Takumar, Jena), I ended up picking up a used O40-150. From what I've seen online, where you can find reviews and sample shots of many of the more popular legacy lenses, the good ones are sharp (when stopped down a bit) but are more prone to flare and reflection due to old coatings. The good ones are faster and sharper than the cheap native telephoto zooms but the not so good ones can be worse. What did it for me was price and convenience - 2 good primes to cover the range of a used O40-150 was actually a bit more expensive, far heavier, and take up much more space than an O40-150.
  5. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Thanks for the replies guys. I guess I'm convinced. Oly 40-150mm will be the first addition. Very sensible. I do like some of them old beauties though. Hope I get to play with them one day too :biggrin:
  6. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    The O40-150 is definitely the sensible bet (plus it's cheap and tiny to boot) but as the others have said, the legacy primes are pretty fun!

    I'd suggest getting the zoom and then pick up a second hand adapter and something like a Pentax M50/f1.7 just to muck around with...
  7. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    By the way, where are you from in Tassie?
  8. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    From the beautiful Tas Peninsula :smile:
  9. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    I've had some great results from my OM100 f2.8 - I have a native Oly 14-150 that's close to the 40-150 in performance and found it a little too slow for big-venue gigs. The OM100 is really quite small for what you get out of it, though it feels quite dense in your hand.
    Love mine - probably the only legacy lens I'll keep.
  10. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I once had a set of Hexanon tele primes (85, 135, 200, and 300). I rarely had use for the wide aperture of the 85/1.8 but it was a beautiful lens in terms of both sharpness and bokeh. In general you need to stop all of them down a bit to get better sharpness. I now have the Oly 40-150 and it's pretty good and much lighter/convenient. If you occasionally need a longer lens, it might be worth picking up a legacy 200 though.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    The pana 45-150 is nice on my G5, sharp enough for me.

    Sent from my iPod touch using Mu-43 mobile app
  12. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    It is funny to read those opinions, years later ;)
    I've got 40-150 4/5.6 since day one.
    I tried some legacy lenses, and i'm totally disappointed.
    Most of them need to be stopped down so much to be sharp (and avoid CA/PF), speed advantage disappear.
    And there is the 16MP sensor diffraction limit over f8.
    So basically, you buy an f2.8 legacy, need to stop it around f4 to avoid that (in)famous "glow". And f5.6 to get something as sharp as your native at f4.
    When you go over f8, you loose contrast due to diffraction.
    Final useful range of your legacy f2.8 ?
    f5.6-f8.0...Whooh !!! All that for around 500gr metal/glass, no AF, no EXIF, no corrected PF...

    I'm now selling my legacy lenses, apart may be Canon FDn 50mm f1.4, because stopped down at f2, it is "usable". And f2.8 start to get sharp.An equivalent 100mm portrait native would cost me a lot more.
    And may be a macro, because a macro is stopped down to get more DOF and manual focus is nice. Not going to be a fast one, anyway.
    But frankly, i was very disappointed by legacy lenses. Good ones cost like equivalent native second hand...pointless to me.
    I'm finally going back to 40-150 4/5.6...until i can buy more native.

    PS : sorry about thread hijack/resurrection :biggrin:
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  13. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I totally agree. Lens design has moved on so much. And TBH, auto focus, auto-aperture and EXIF are really nice to have.
  14. palombasso

    palombasso Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 31, 2014
    Everything said already is true. Newer/native lenses have a lot of improvements in coating, size, weight, sharpness wide open (film wasn't as demanding), auto focus, etc
    If your concern is primarily price I recommend starting with the native Tele zoom.
    With legacy there's a chance you will be disappointed with the results or the weight, and a lot of legacy lenses will have some degree of dust, scratches, fungus ou haze.

    That been said, for me the charm of legacy lenses is the haptic of shooting them. The true manual focus (as opposed to by wire), the metal weight and feel... It's just different and I think complements other than replaces the need for the native ones. Different sensations for different times.

    Lastly, although it's true that old lenses usually have CA and a "glow" wide open with some post I like the results I get:
    Adapted Lens Image Thread

    Adapted Lens Image Thread

    Adapted Lens Image Thread

    Sent from my SM-G900M using Tapatalk
  15. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    I totally understand the "feel" factor since i used my father's Super Takumar 50/1.4 again ;)
    Never thought a lens i touched when i was only some years old still works like new from factory now...

    On my side, i'm searching a replacement for native, with more affordable price. And i don't need follow focus/unclicked aperture and such features very useful for video. I want a lens that deliver at 100% pixel level.
    On this side, most legacy will disappoint. I even tried an RJ focal was a joke sharpness wise, even on my very sharp Canon FDn 50/1.4.

    That "glow" can be useful to create a kind of "soft focus" effect, for portraits and intimate photos.
    I think i got a bunch of lemons, too. May be it is time for well known values, like a Tamron 90 2.8.

    @palombasso@palombasso : Your pics are very sharp, sharper than mine on legacy, apart Canon FDn 50/1.4 witch is near what i get ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    TassieFig, it's kinda obvious that your best bet is to pick up a native M43 tele zoom in the 40-150 range. There are a number to choose from, but the little Oly 40-150 R is the bargain leader. Small, light, and cheap - it performs a lot better than its low price and reputation would suggest. I got it for $99 US when I bought my first M43 camera, an EM5, and kept it because it's a perfect travel tele zoom. I used to use it to shoot kids sports, but have since gotten a 4/3rds Olympus 50-200 SWD for that. Panasonic has several tele zooms in 45-150/175 range. I don't have any legacy lenses, so can't comment on that, but the consensus seems to be that the older lenses aren't as sharp or free from CA or flare as the newer native lenses.
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  17. rash_powder

    rash_powder Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2011
    I have a Nikkor Q 200mm that I like. The images I get from it are good enough for me, but I'm not a pro or anything like that. I just like taking pictures. There is also a Nikkor 80-200 F4 in my kit, it works great too.

    The only trouble I have with adapted lenses is getting the longer telephoto's focused well. My 300mm I just can't do handheld, but no problems with the 200mm
  18. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    I tested my "new" Tamron CT200 (Adaptall 1) 200mm f3.5 today. Very compact for a 200mm, can be handheld. Even at 520gr.
    About focus, i needed to use magnification to the max : x14. And viewfinder ;)
    My Vivitar 70-300mm is too long to handhold.On the other side, with a 2x crop factor, i just need 200mm (400mm equivalent).

    So far, i'm a impressed by the Tamron. I can't upscale my 40-150 to match this 200mm resolution.
    Here is a 100% crop of the Tamron at f11 (maximum sharpness):
    No obvious CA (unlike Vivitar), and sharpness is good enough to even beat the [email protected], upscaled to a 300mm equivalent FOV.
    There is hope :2thumbs: I will post a complete comparison soon.
  19. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Then you would need to buy the legendary lenses rather than just trying randoms from ebay. But really if you require performance 'at 100% pixel level' why are you buying full frame film lenses for your m43 sensor?

    You got a shit version then. There are multiple versions of the chinese designed focal reducers. Only one version for the Metabones focal reducer.

    Legacy lenses on m43 is a hobby and one that can be very fruitful from a creative perspective, and cheap on the wallet too. If you want pro performance buy pro lenses, legacy or native.
  20. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    I understand this point of view. I know i will get nearly perfect results with a "pro" lens. Even 40-150 4/5.6 do it (not even pro).
    And i totally understand passion about legacy lenses.

    My point : you will need to spend the same amount of money to get an old legacy manual lens matching buy the native, until you REALLY need good manual controls (video being a good example).
    About "random" on Ebay, i don't do it so much. I don't buy a lens without background.
    You will read a lot of rave about it. But at the end, you are going to see CA/PF, "glow" all over the place. The so-called "reference" lens just became an half-lemon in real life usage on YOUR digital camera. May be not everyone.This is what i call "random" : real life experience ;)
    I will continue trying lenses. But with probably less expectations, and less trust in other ppl experience. I will buy, test...and resell MY lemons.
    The old Tamron CT200 was a nice surprise, btw. It start to be sharp center between 4/5.6.
    And about Metabones, sorry, i will not buy a focal reducer costing that much. If i want to go this way, i will buy a second hand NEX body...and another brand cheap China focal reducer to get even more focal reduction effect ;)
    This is probably my (nex)t purchase, btw.
    I didn't wanted to rain on anyone's parade. Just be clear about the separation between "passion" and "results" ;)