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New to all this, looking to get some glass!

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by TullyK, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. TullyK

    TullyK New to Mu-43

    Apr 7, 2014
    United Kingdom
    Hi All,

    I recently got my first decent camera: a Panasonic G6. I opted to buy body only have equiped it with Olypmus' 12-50mm M.zuiko lens which works very well as an all round native micro four thirds lens and I'm really enjoying using it, but I'd like to get hold of some inexpensive older lenses to use via adapters. I have two questions:

    1) If I'm to buy one adapter ring, which set of lenses should I go for? I have been looking at Canon FD lenses but a lot of people seem to use Nikons.

    2) I could use some clarification on what exactly happens when you adapt a lens meant for 35mm sensors onto micro four thirds. I understand that the focal length is aparently doubled, but if this is because not all the light is hitting the sensor then how does it affect aperture at the fast end? Or have I got it all wrong..?

    Thank you for your help
    • Like Like x 1
  2. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Hello and welcome!

    You've already got a nice camera and a good all around lens so adapting lenses seems like a logical way to get the most bang for your buck to me ;) 

    1) If you're just looking to stay with mirrorless cameras or micro4/3s then it doesn't really matter what lenses you pick. One reason that people like nikon lenses is because they can be used on many different formats from m43 to nex to nikon and canon fullframe. Like I said though, if you don't have an slr in mind for the future then any adapted lenses will work.

    2) example: a 50mmf1.4 lens on a 35mm sensor gives a normal field of view and f1.4 light gathering ability. If I put the same lens on my m43 camera I would get a telephoto field of view that is double the focal length, ie.100mm on a 35mm format, but still the f1.4 light gathering ability. The part that confuses people is that the depth of field is also doubled. So while the lens will expose for the same f1.4 value on each system, the depth of field will be deeper on m43 by 2 stops.

    too long didn't read: a FF 50mmf1.4 = 100mmf1.4 on m43; the depth of field is f1.4 on FF and f2.8 on m43 (depth of field and the amount of light let in aren't the same)
  3. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Welcome to m43 - I've been here about a year after a lifetime of big Nikons. You will have a lot of fun. But ...

    You'll make your self crazy thinking about this focal length doubling, Fstop doubling, etc. It's actually simpler.

    First at off, the focal length is the focal length. Because the sensor is smaller, it's just as if you took the full-frame negative and cropped the image down to the center. In the case of m43, the linear dimensions of the sensor are approximately half of a frame of 35mm film, so the field of view is smaller - by about half. But repeat after me: 25mm = 25mm = 25mm. The lens doesn't know what kind of camera it's mounted on. That 25mm lens gives about the same field of view on m43 as. 50mm does on 35mm, or an 80mm does on 120 film.

    Fstop is the same - it is physically the ratio of the focal length of the lens divided by the size of the aperture. Again, the lens doesn't know it's on an m43 camera. So a 25mm lens with an aperture which is 13.88mm (= 25mm/1.8) is always f/1.8. The exposure is dictated by this number and is independent of the size of the sensor. Again, 1.8 = 1.8 = 1.8.

    Depth if field is a bit more complicated, but the rule of thumb suggests equivalence between (say) f/1.8 on a 50mm lens when used on a 35mm camera, and f/3.5 on a 25mm lens when used on a m43 camera for many purposes. But it actually depends on many factors, including the distance from the sensor to the subject, the size of the image when viewed, and the distance from which the image is viewed. Also remember that despite the near fanatical focus (excuse the pun) by some on the supposed "less shallow DOF" problem with m43, it's a two edged sword - sometimes it's a great advantage.

    The short story is that after shooting for a while with m43 you'll start thinking of 25mm as a "normal" lens, and 14-42 as a mid-ranged zoom. The fact that those are different for 35mm cameras will become less important.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Don't discount those old m42 mount lenses.
  5. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Get the lens first. Adapters come in a price range that ranges from $10 to $250. Most of us use the inexpensive ones. Some may only have one lens mount, and use separate adapters on each lens for convenience. I have bought a lens (although it was almost free) not even knowing what mount it used, and figured that out later.
  6. Jason C

    Jason C Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2014
    First off, welcome!

    Glass is good...buy more glass!

    I like Canon FD lenses, personally. However, Konica AR lenses are fantastic and a great value to boot!. Then again, I've never met a lens I did not like. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with either Nikon or Canon, but be prepared to pay for 'em.

  7. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Unless you have a desperate need to buy legacy glass, I'd stick with native stuff for a while. Here's why:

    - native lenses nearly always deliver better IQ. Digital sensors have different characteristics to film and in any case, we expect much more from our lenses with respect to resolution than we used to. Most legacy lenses need stopping down somewhat before they deliver good sharpness.

    - size/weight - legacy lenses + adapter will invariably be big compared to equivalent native lenses.

    - legacy lenses = MF only. I personally really like AF (with a bit of MF mixed in).

    - legacy lenses = manual aperture. Combined with MF only, this means taking a shot involves opening wide, focussing, stopping down, metering, fire. Ok sometimes, but often too slow and fiddly.

    - legacy lenses = no EXIF. I like EXIF since it tells me afterwards the lens and aperture I used.

    With such a wide range of excellent native lenses available, some at bargain prices (Panasonic 14 and 20, Sigma 19, 30 and 60, Oly 45), I don't personally think all the faff with legacy lenses is worth it.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. TullyK

    TullyK New to Mu-43

    Apr 7, 2014
    United Kingdom
    OK great, thank you, duke and bassman particularly; that has cleared things up. I was under the impression DOF would be based purely on aperture regardless of sensor size.

    You make a good point pdk42, however I think I'll enjoy giving manual a go and it will certainly teach me a lot. Another native lens wouldn't go a miss though!

    I can't afford one, but what do you all think of the Metabones Speedbooster?
  9. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Never actually used the speedbooster but it is getting favorable reviews and If you get more into using adapted lenses then I think it would make sense. There is a cheaper version made by a different company and the consensus on that one seems to be that it is cheap and not really very good image quality.
  10. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Just remember, nothing in life is free. Not only do you have to pay for the Speedbooster (which I agree has gotten decent reviews (for what it is), but you add weight and extra glass in the optical path. You still are fully manual. You almost certainly pay a penalty on optical quality, although this may not be significant for your uses.

    I'm with pdk42 - unless you really enjoy shooting fully manually, or have a severe cash issue, or already have a bunch of legacy glass, I'd start with a few native lenses. I actually went and bought an inexpensive Nikon adapter and have yet to use it. The idea of carrying those old, heavy lenses and doing all the AF and exposure manually just doesn't excite me, although I've got some nice Nikkors in the closet, including the 80-200/2.8, Tokina 11-16/2.8, 50/1.4 and 35/1.8 DX. The Olympus 45/1.8 weighs about half of what the Nikkor 50/1.4 does, and is simply tiny.
    But mostly go and shoot.
  11. dadadude

    dadadude Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    San Carlos, CA
    I rarely use my native lenses. I love the time and effort a manual legacy lens requires from me. The depth of field and focus is so much easier to control IMO. I really don't get this obsession with resolution and hyper sharp and saturated colors that so many laud native lenses for. I have spent a lifetime in the graphic arts doing color reproduction and currently own a pre-media company. I still prefer the analog look and feel over digital photography. Just look at some of the stunning images in the adapted image thread. Nuff said. I can buy a fantastic nifty fifty 1.4 lens for under $50. Get a cheap adapter off ebay and you are in business. Minolta Rokkor lenses are my favorite, especially the MC versions with the hills and dales focus ring. Canon FD/FL, Pentax Takumar, Konica Hexanon and other brands also have fantastic options. The other thing I love is the heft of an older lens makes my camera feel more old school and less plasticky and toy like. It's a cheap and fun way to have another type of experience with your camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    yes and no. i say that -- and the reason why i loathe this kind of discussion -- is because its a matter of pedant semantics.

    absolutely the same because you get the same light intensity/density beamed onto the back of the camera, regardless of the sensor size there to pick it up.

    again the lens itself has fixed physical configuration, and thus projects a fixed image onto the back of the camera.

    here is a nice example of one such configuration - 50mm at f/5.6
    COC stands for circle of confusion
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    (courtesy toothwalker.org)

    (a) what this graph shows is that an object pair -- e.g. 2 toy cars 1 feet apart -- is more dissimilar in focus (=sharpness) placed closer to the lens, than when they are placed further away from the lens. ["more blur"]

    if you where to crop or "zoom" that photo, the relationship of sharpness of the cars is exactly the same, because indeed the projected image is still the same. (but its just...cropped!!)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    (1) so strictly speaking, the DOF does not change; it is purely function of FL + Aperture

    in the cropped photo, the composition is obviously different. if you want the original composition, you would have to step farther away from the cars.... and we know from (a) when you step farther away, those objects will be more closely matched in focus.... thus in this crop mode

    (2) there is less blur separation!!! ....or you could say the effective DOF is increased.

    half of the internet battles are waged over DOF wars. like when someone claims that full-frame has shallower DOF. hilariously, most of the time, its due to semantics and how people define and interpret the term DOF and the word blur, when they unwittingly be agreeing on the photographic effects. as long as you understand the physical, optical effects....who cares then how people put it in words
    • Like Like x 1
  13. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Light monkey - that's a nice post - thanks. It might be worth noting though that a u43 image will need more magnification to produce a given print than an FF image. This means that the acceptable COC effectively reduces.
  14. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Well put, Lightmonkey.

    Another way to think about it is thusly: on our film cameras, we all knew that a 24mm lens would give us a deeper depth of field than a 50mm. So why are we surprised when we mount a 25mm lens on our m43 cameras because it has the (approximately the) same field of view as the old 50mm had on our film camera, and it has a deeper depth of field than the 50mm did? The lens knowest not what camera it is mounted upon.

    Repeat after me:

    25mm = 25mm = 25mm
    f/1.8 = f/1.8 = f/1.8
  15. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Not quite.

    "Magnification" and "enlargement", are concepts from the film days which have very different meanings in the digital world. Taking enlargement first, that referred to the optical increase in size of the projection of an image from a transparent positive or negative film to a print media. Smaller film sizes required more elargement to achieve a given print size. The greater the enlargement, the greater the image was degraded.

    In digital, there is never any enlargement made. We take pixels from the sensor and remap them onto the display media - a screen or print, typically. So the relevant measure is between the number of pixels in the image we are displaying and the size of the display media, along with the viewing distance. This is insensitive to whether your 16MP sensor is m43, APC, full frame, or medium format. In fact, you will create an intermediate jpeg in most cases which is again divorced from the size of the sensor itself.

    So magnification, in this digital world, is better thought of as "pixels on the bird". In other words, how many pixels are covered by the part of the image in question (in the idiom, the image of a bird). Thus a given lens which projects a 10mm image of the bird on a m43 sensor will have a different "magnification" effect depending on whether it's a 4MP sensor or a 16MP sensor.

    If you then consider putting the same legacy lens on a 16MP m43 camera, or a 36MP Nikon D800, it will cover fewer pixels on the Nikon (the pixels are larger, and fewer of them fit in a given space). And therefore, printing or displaying the two images on the same sized media will result in the m43 image having more resolution! So while the size of the image projected on the sensor is important, without also knowing the pixel density (i.e., 16MP on m43, or 36MP on full frame), you don't know "pixels on the bird".
  16. Jacquesass

    Jacquesass Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 17, 2014
    Wow, there's a lot of good information in this thread. I'm much less knowledgeable than the posters above, but I would suggest a few things about legacy vs. native (after reading up on this forum). Assuming you don't already have a big investment in legacy glass:

    1) You have a good kit lens, your next move should probably be some native primes. You can still manually focus all you want, but don't pass up the available native primes that are smaller, lighter, and often sharper than legacy glass. Most people feel a "normal" prime is their most-used prime, so you can now wade into the current 25mm argument (Panaleica 25/1.4 vs. Olympus 25/1.8) and make a decision. If that's too rich for you right now, track down a used Panasonic 20/1.7 pancake prime to whet your appetite.

    2) m43 then has an impressive number of other native primes to choose from, after moving on from buying the "normal". Many people refer to a "holy trinity" of primes, such as Olympus' 12/25/45 lenses (all f/1.8) or the (soon to be complete) Panaleica 15/25/42.5 (f/1.7/1.4/1.2). Panasonic's pancake primes (14/2.5 and 20/1.7) are inexpensive and tiny. All of these lenses are fantastic and make for a much smaller kit than equivalent DSLR lenses (modern or legacy).

    3) Metabones makes the best focal reducer on the market, but some of the newer clones can be purchased for much less (search this forum for "Roxsen" - $100 on eBay). People seem to agree that the focal reducers hurt image quality on focal lengths less than 50mm - but seem to work pretty well above that number. So...

    4) If you are going to experiment with legacy glass, consider getting a good legacy 50mm lens. These aren't as big/heavy as much of the legacy telephoto lenses, they can be had for very cheap (<$100) and they offer you a focal length near the native prime 45mm mentioned above - but adding a focal reducer makes them one f-stop faster and converts it to a ~35mm focal length (which slots nicely in the gap between the 25mm and 45mm native primes).

    5) You'll likely want a tele zoom. The Olympus 40-150 is $150, the Panasonic 45-150 is $200 but adds image stabilization.

    The Wirecutter has a nice rundown, but YMMV: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-first-micro-four-third-lenses-you-should-buy/
  17. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    OK well I am speaking a guy that uses almost exclusively Legacy glass, and has been using µ4/3 since about the time is was introduced. Heck, I Bought the G1 with body only and used my legacy glass with adapter for well over a year till I purchased a Kit lens (for the 14mm wide angle side).
    So yea go ahead and buy whatever tickles your fancy .. . My suggestion is to look for some Cheap Prime lenses (prime means not a Zoom lens) buy them, what ever mount they are, and then get the adapter that goes to them. You will have fun.

    Another way to go is to stick to Olympus OM , Nikon, and Pentax PK mounts and then get yourself ..a Canon EF - µ4/3 adapter. The reason is because all the legacy mounts I mentioned earlier can fit the Canon EF (EOS) mount with a thin metal adapter.. I know they say not to stack adapters but I have done it and its fine. It saves room in your bag and I am sure at-least half the people on here think its a bad idea , but i think it is a good way to save space in your bag and that way you can leave the EF adapters on your legacy glass and then use only one µ4/3 adapter.

    Ironically this is coming from a guy that has and used lenses from five different mount systems and has µ4/3 adapters for each system.... ohhh except for Pentax PK. I forgot that I use a PK to EF adapter for use on my EF - µ4/3 adapter. That PK is the only Legacy mount I use in which I can get such an adapter for .. My other 3 mounts can't be adapted to EF.
    But I only take out one legacy mount system with me in my Bag, when I go out. This is for ease of use and to save room. Now I don't count the C-mount lenses that I have, each have their own µ4/3 adapter permanently left on. There is always an annoyance when I go to, lets say, a Minolta MD lens and then to a µ4/3 mount lens (this includes the C-mount lenses) then back to a different MD mount lens. The reason is usually when I take the legacy lens off to use a µ4/3 mount lens I leave the adapter attached to that lens, and then when I take off that µ4/3 mount lens to go to another legacy mount lens, I then have to remove the adapter from that last lens and put it on the camera and then get the other legacy lens and I am swamping caps all over the place, to make sure the caps are on the lenses in my bag. I mean guess some people don't bother to cap their lenses all the time, but I'm not one of those people. Again you can buy adapters for each lens (they are so cheap) but then there added space taken up and weight to my camera bag. So its a tradeoff. Food for thought.
    • Like Like x 2
  18. HaViet

    HaViet Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    Hartford, CT

    Couldn't agree more with the above points. Excellent post.

    I am also new here and had been thinking quite a bit about the legacy lenses, mainly due to price. I was under the impression that most legacy lenses in great conditions can be gotten for around $50-$60. Well, that's not quite true.

    I looked around a bit, but mainly on ebay and KEH. The really good lenses such as the Canon FD 50/f1.4, the Konica AR 50/f1.4, Pentax SMC 50/f1/4 are selling around $70-$80 on KEH, with about $10 shipping, and maybe another $15-$20 for an adapter. Add all that up and you could spend probably around $100 for a legacy lens. Sure they can still take great images, as shown in the image thread on this forum.

    But why deal with all the manual work, size, weight of a legacy lens when you could get m4/3 prime lenses in the same price range. If you are a little patient, I am sure you can get some amazing deals on m4/3 prime lenses.


    I got a Sigma 30mm f2.8 from a forum member that is in excellent conditions, shipped to me for $105
    I got a brand new Oly 17mm f2.8 shipped from Hong Kong for $130

    Sure these are not great lenses, but I hear very good things about them. For the price I paid, I am quite happy. Again, I am not someone that could afford to spend $300-$500 on a new lens, I am just an amateur and it just doesn't justify such huge investment.

    So, from a pricing perspective, a native m4/3 lens is not that much more from a legacy lens, if you are willing to wait and buy use/refurb, or wait a little longer for some excellent deals on the new ones. But if you're someone that like to shoot in manual, or like to tinker with legacy lens then go for it. But price wise, I just don't see a big enough gap.
  19. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    No penalty on optical quality on m43. See this thread where the Nikon 35mm f1.8 destroys the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 and the Nikon 105mm f2.5 is neck and neck with the Olympus 75mm f1.8.

    See the thread above. No bad image quality for wide lenses.

    When you read opinions on the Speedbooster on the net you have to be a little careful since most of them are from NEX or Fuji users. The Speedbooster on APS-C sized sensors does make for some bad corners or edges. Not such issues on m43. Even the designer of the Speedbooster have stated as much.

    And I'll get off my soapbox now :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Jacquesass

    Jacquesass Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 17, 2014
    Thanks for the link - I hadn't seen that thread. I was going more on kevinparis' thread using the Roxsen clone:


    I don't have any personal experience - my Roxsen FD mount is in the mail from Hong Kong...
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