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Need a cheap sharp Prime lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by 369, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. 369

    369 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    Hi all,

    I have a EP-1 for almost 10 months now. I love the cam and this is my first real camera. However, looking at this forum and seeing some great results from adapted lens, I also want to get a lens that is Cheap, Sharp and easily available.

    I would like to have the panasonic 20mm 1.7 but don't have the funds. So I need to get an inexpensive lens. Kindly suggest the right lens which is sharp and cheap also what adapter do I need to buy with it.

    I am an amateur photographer, will use it for personal pics, outdoors, portraits, indoor party etc.
  2. qball

    qball Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2010
    Konica Hexanon 40 1.8
  3. sherlock

    sherlock Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 31, 2011
    Keep in mind any other lens you get will be manual-focus only, which may not be a good thing if you're just starting out and/or want to use it when out & about.

    The above mentioned 40mm hexanon is a good choice, as is any of the 50mm f1.4's from Canon/Nikon/Olympus/Pentax. The Olympus (OM) 50 f1.4 is probably my pick, but by the time you get one in good condition (USD$130) and an adapter (USD$35) plus shipping, you're already over halfway to a Panasonic 20 f1.7.
  4. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    I have the Konica and an OM 50/1.4. Prefer the Olympus OM.
  5. aw614

    aw614 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2011
    I picked up a Konica hexanon 50mm F/1.8 for 15 dollars at a local camera store, I would search there, the canon/nikon/olympus/pentax manual film stuff was a bit more pricy, but the minolta and konica manual focus stuff was fairly well priced and reasonable typically under 50 for a nice prime F/1.4
  6. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    Why not the 17/2.8 pancake Zuiko, pref. with the VF-1 viewfinder?
    It's probably quite affordable today, and it's IMHO as competent as Panny's pancake. Ok, it's not as fast focusing, but beats an adapted lens any day, and makes a Pen a (man's) pocket, or purse, camera.
  7. red

    red Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 21, 2010
    I suggest a russian Fed Industar 61LD 55mm | 1:2.8 lens...

    really sharp and very cheap (less than $20) and you need a m39 (LTM) adapter (also about $20)...

    You will enjoy it... :thumbup:
  8. 369, what focal length were you looking for?
  9. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Prime lenses have their own religious followings. Each lens has its own characteristics besides sharpness (color, contrast, bokeh, etc.) that cause people to like them over others.

    You said you would like the Panasonic 20/1.7 but did not have the funds. All of the primes mentioned here are longer in focal length so be sure to remember they will be short telephotos on the Olympus.

    If you just want to try I would recommend getting the least expensive lens that meets your criteria from the major manufacturers as mentioned by Sherlock above. However I would say you should also look at the F1.8 or f2.0 50mm lenses as they will be half the price of the f1.4 versions. You can get an adapter and lens for as low as $50-$60 (add at least $40 or more for an f1.4 version). If you have the funds get an f1.4, otherwise the slower lenses would be fine.

    There are plenty of inexpensive ($20-$30) adapters on eBay. Several of use use a provider called Rainbow Imaging.

    In any case remember you can sell the items later if you want to upgrade or decide adapted lenses are not for you or if you want a faster lens.
  10. theflyer

    theflyer Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2011
    so many choices, so many ways to take pictures.

    sounds like you'd like a versatile sharp inexpensive lens and the posters above have already given you a number of really good options.

    another way to go is with a yashica/contax 50/2 for $25 from KEH or, if you want to go a bit faster, the 50/1.7 for $43. they might be less on ebay, not sure. both of these lenses are fairly sharp wide open and a lot less in demand than the equivalent offerings from canon/pentax/konica/minolta. this might make them a better fit if you're really trying to go bare bones. add a c/y adapter for around $22 and you're ready to roll.

  11. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Affordable possibly, depending on where you live (it's still close to 300 € in the euro zone, and I've yet to see one under 200 € 2nd hand). But competent... I have both 17 and 20, and while I like the 17 focal length and FOV, the 20 is clearly in another optical league. Also, the 17 auto focus is slower, and it has a marked tendency to hunt for no good reason when the light dims a bit. CA is enormous, and isn't corrected even on a Panasonic body because Olympus 'forgot' to fill in the required data in the firmware. The optical barrel aberration is extreme, and while the in-camera process sort of straighten this aptly behind the photographer's back, this result in a loss of the physical focal (17 is the true optical focal, but processing has to zoom in the final straightened image, therefore cutting a fair share of the FOV). Finally, the 2.8 aperture is only half a stop better than the kit zoom set @17mm and has no optical edge over it.

    So unless you really want to go out with a small setup, there's really no advantage gained from the 17 over the kit zoom, and it's certainly a lens very inferior to the 20.

    If I were the OP, I'd start up a cookie jar now to save for the 20. I never regretted a single cent I poured into it. Can't say the same of the 17 - it's a lens I'd love to love, but each time I use it and review the pics afterwards, I'm pulling my hair in front of the computer while assessing the amount of careful PP needed to make the images look acceptable.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    also check out relatives and older friends.... they may have an old SLR lying dormant in a cupboard or attic somewhere, which will most likely have a standard lens.

    I recently turned down an old olympus OM-10 with 50/1.8 lens as I already have one of those and a 1.4 as well....as well as about half a dozen other 50mm lenses from Nikon,Pentax,Leica and Contax.

    as far as sharpness goes almost all of the brand name 50mm are going to be sharp, especially if stopped down to f2 or more - the limitation of getting a sharp image will probably be more down to your focussing skills, an appropriate choice of shutter speed ( aim for at least 1/100 sec) and learning to hold the camera steady - remember a 50mm lens on a 4/3 camera is a mild telephoto lens

    • Like Like x 2
  13. mu43oo

    mu43oo New to Mu-43

    Apr 4, 2011
    The Oly 35mm F/3.5 macro is from all reports a very sharp lens and AFAIK will do AF on your EP-1. Depending on your need 35mm may be a better focal length.
  14. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Excellent advice - you can't beat free!

    I have also seen a few old SLRs with primes (and other lenses) at yard sales cheap.
  15. 369

    369 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    wow thanks for the many good recommendations and advice. I am new to this so all this is overwhelming. Seriously I don't know what focal length I want. I guess I saw so many nice pics coming out of the panny 20mm that I though I should start there and its good for low light as well so thats the reason for deciding on the 20mm.
    Then saw the price and thought can't afford it now,s o started to look at the adapted lens thread and say some great results from the canon, konica so though that the MF lens would be cheaper and more affordable and if i don't use it much I can afford to spend $60-$80 and not feel bad.

    So thats where I am coming from. I have struggled with the kit lens indoors with focusing and the pics were really bad handheld. It will be hand held most of the time, giving it to friends to take a quick snapshot etc.
  16. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Don't discount the Oly 17/2.8 - it is available for much less that the Panny 20/1.7.

    It may not be the stellar performer the 20/1.7 is but it is a very good lens in its own right at a very good price. And the field of view is good indoors (even better than the 20/1.7) and you get a good stop over the kit lens. It is an under-appreciated lens.

    For any of these lens options be sure to look at the lens sample gallaries.
  17. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Unfortunately, I think Panny 20mm f1.7 is your only option especially if you want other people using your camera, AF is important. MF without VF-2 is not as precise and can be annoying especially handheld (w/o tripod). Oly 17mm f2.8 is not nearly as good in low light. If anything I think it may be better to just use your kit lens for now (albeit with flash indoors) until you can afford the panny.

  18. ddegomez

    ddegomez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    legacy primes

    My work is very technical, and the kit zoom is nearly useless. I have an OM 50mm f 1.8 left over from my OM 2 days that is excelent for the part of my work that requires a longer focal length. Finding a wider angle lens wasn't so easy. The Minolta rokkor 35mm I bought recently was poor compared to my OM 50mm. Another Olympus lens I've owned for decades, a 20mm Pen ft, is not the lens it used to be (suffered from poor storage). I bought a 24mm OM lens recently that was dirt cheap because the iris wasn't functioning. Well, I fixed the iris only to find the glass had big problems. On the other hand, an old Nikon 28mm f3.5 I found turned out to be superb, worth the rather high price of $135. So, there is some great old glass out there, along with some glass that hasn't aged so well.
    BTW the Oly 4/3, with in camera I.S., is great for old primes, but only if you manualy match the camera I.S. focal length with the lens focal length.
  19. If we are concentrating on sharpness (and affordability), the Canon new FD lenses are quite good.The new FD lenses I've used are:

    20mm f2.8
    24mm f2.8
    28mm f2.8
    28mm f2
    35mm f2
    50mm f1.8
    50mm f1.4

    Even the 50/1.8 and 28/2.8 are nice and sharp despite being some of the cheapest old SLR lenses you can get. The 24/2.8, 28/2, 35/2 and 50/1.4 are all great lenses. The 20/2.8 I had briefly was nice and sharp too but it had some fungus that caused a few optical problems and I returned it to the seller.

    Despite that I do have a slight bias towards Olympus OM Zuiko lenses, as much for the feel and build quality of the lenses as their optical performance.

    I do however agree with Art's comment that handing your camera around to friends and expecting them to manually focus might be asking a bit much. We've all been spoilt with autofocus for a couple of decades now.
  20. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I got a pentax-fit cosina and it was £4. Sharp, yes!

    One problem I can see is your e-P1 has no EVF slot, and I myself can see no joy in focusing a nice old lens using the LCD screen ... so maybe the autofocus m4/3rds lenses are still the way to go.
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