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Native Primes that you love to Focus Manually

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by RogerD, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. RogerD

    RogerD Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    Oct 29, 2014
    I've been re-discovering my enjoyment of photography over the last year.

    I like the Oly 14-42 II, Oly 9-18, and Panny 14 2.5 that I have just fine, and they are great for when an event is more important than the experience of making photos.

    To my surprise, I find I get the most enjoyment from my small collection of adapted Jupiter, Rokkor, and Hexanon lenses. Admittedly, they're not as reliable that every time I point and punch the button I'll get a keeper. Conversely, I like that they slow the snapshot process down to a more deliberate act of setting up and making a photo. And it's the feel of these old lenses that pleases me most of all - the solid, fluid feeling they give when setting the aperture ring with a twist and the dampened, smooth and precise feeling when focusing.

    What native lenses are especially good at giving that pleasant tactile experience of setting up and making a shot - especially the manual focus part? Are any so exceptional that they make you want to turn off the autofocus and go manual?

    Roger
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    None of the native lenses even come close to the feel of a manual focus lens.
     
  3. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Veteran

    449
    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    The Olympus lenses with focus clutch feel pretty OK, but they're still focus by wire.
    The Olympus 12-40 in particular is not bad given its larger size.
    That said they don't feel nearly as nice as the Nokton lenses...
    Rudy
     
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  4. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    The Pl25 is very nice for this purpose.
     
  5. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    The best native lenses for manual focusing are the Voigtlander lenses. None of the AF m43 lenses have MF rings that feel good enough for me to bypass AF unless it's for macro work, especially when AF is super quick and reliable. YMMV.
     
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  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    The Oly 17mm f1.8 also has a focus clutch.

    Furthermore, there are several companies making mu43 mount MF lenses... Voigtlander, Mikaton (iirc), Samyang, ...

    Barry
     
  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    oh, I was thinking of the autofocus focus by wire lenses and not the manual focus only native lenses (which are designed for manual focus so feel good in use).
     
  8. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    PL15. The action and placement of the MF ring versus the weight, balance and focal length of the lens is pretty spot on.
     
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  9. RogerD

    RogerD Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    Oct 29, 2014
    Thanks all for the helpful replies so far.

    So far there has been mention of the availability of the manual only Samyang/Rokinon, Voitlander and Mitakon - with Voitlander getting experience-based kudos.

    Note has also been made that the Oly 12 and 17 have clutches that improves the focus by wire, but noone has declared it as a favored way of using the lens. People have, however, stood behind the PL 25 and PL15 as being lenses offering AF that have particularly nice MF modes.

    So, what natives do people have direct experience with that they would recommend someone buy if they were primarily or only going to be used in MF?
    Just the MF only lenses?

    Seeing as the Samyang/Rokinon and Mitakon can cost similarly to the more easily found used PL 15 and 25, would the PL's be worth buying solely for use in MF?

    Thanks,
    Roger
     
  10. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    I'll repeat my sentiment. If you're looking for the "feel" of older MF legacy lenses, IMO, no native AF lens has the same direct feel and action. If you're solely going to be using these lenses in MF mode, buy some nice MF legacy lenses with the cash instead of paying for a nice AF native lens with AF that you won't use. I haven't used any of the Samyang/Rokinon/Mitakon native MF lenses but the Voigtlander native MF lenses are superb in terms of MF quality, IQ and overall build. There are plenty of choices in the used legacy lens market and I suspect as you mentioned, much of the joy comes from manual focusing your lenses. If that's where your joy lies, then acquiring actual MF lenses will give you more joy in focusing than any fly by wire AF lens used as a MF lens. While a lot of the better fly by wire AF lenses may have a "buttery smooth" MF feel, there is still a disconnect between rotating the focus ring at different speeds and focus achieved. This isn't a criticism of a specific lens but rather "fly by wire" in general.

    As for the O12/O17/P15/P25/P12-40 that have all been mentioned, while they're all optically very nice lenses, IMO none of them compares to a quality legacy MF lens in terms of focus action. Also, with the clutch focus mechanism on the O12 and O17, when in MF mode, the focus is stepped which may or may not annoy you depending on how sensitive you are to this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
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  11. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    310
    Jan 15, 2014
    Not quite native, but the 50-200 SWD has by far the best MF of my AF lenses. Otherwise, none of them come close to MF lenses, including the 25/1.4 and 12-40/2.8. I haven't tried the 15/1.7.
     
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  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I agree with tyrphoto, if you want MF look at Voigtlanders.
     
  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have agree about the 50-200 SWD. It even manually focuses better then my little tuna.
     
  14. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I so completely agree with this and is why I own and use several manual focus lenses.
     
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  15. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    The 75mm f/1.8. Granted, totally focus by wire, but the telephoto compression, narrow dof, and sharpness of the lens still makes it a pleasure to use in MF.
     
  16. RogerD

    RogerD Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    Oct 29, 2014
    Thanks all.

    I had been finding all along that the MF golden era of the '70s to mid '80s had a special resonance for me, and the good advice in this thread is confirming it. I really love the experience and results I've been getting with Rokkor and Hexanon lenses, but it seems that the wider lenses is a place where more modern lenses seem to excel compared to 30 or 40 years ago. I had been holding off venturing into the 25mm and wider range until getting some help in this thread.

    All that said, has anyone used the Mitakon 25 1.7? It seems to be getting mixed reviews so far.
     
  17. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    We started with the Olympus OM-1. An E-M5 ii with a Voigtlander lens is eerily familiar.
     
  18. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
  19. esnift

    esnift Mu-43 Veteran

    247
    Mar 17, 2013
    Boston, MA
    Dan
    I'd also have to agree with this. The MF focus clutch on the 12-40 is decent and very handy in macro, or when setting focus to infinity, and I'd give the "nicest-manual-focus-out-of-the-native-AF-lenses-I've-used" award to the PL 25, but it's not so nice that I would prefer it in any situation where AF would work just as well. The O75 does have a smooth ring, but in use, I've personally found the FBW focus action isn't as smooth as the ring itself :frown:

    I did however own a Voigtlander for a time and I never thought I would describe MF as a "pleasurable" experience, but there really isn't a better word for it. If you want a native lens and you don't plan on needing AF for that lens, definitely consider the Voigtlanders. Very premium quality and a joy to own and use.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
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