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New to m43, what legacy lens should I look for?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Saelee, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. Saelee

    Saelee Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2011
    I am new to the m43 system. I have a refurbished ep1 that is on the way and I can't wait to play with it.

    A few years ago I shot Pentax digital. During the 5 years of shooting Pentax, I acquired a lot of old legacy pentax lens for dirt cheap and most of them where very sharp. I did a lot of research and ended up with a very nice collection. Sadly I sold most of it to fund my Nikon system.

    Now the treasure hunt is on again. I like to go to garage sale and flea market to find old lens.

    What lens are the highly rated lens that are still cheap? Cheap meaning under $100.

    What are the THREE MUST HAVE lens that every m43 user should get?(not the new lens, but the older lens)
  2. Krang

    Krang Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 19, 2010
    Well there's so much to choose from…

    I would start with the remaining pentax(if I understood correctly that you still have some). Then try a C-mount, they are really fun on m4/3, but mostly with quite heavy vignetting. Then maybe some Nikon or Olympus OM.

    As for focal lenght I would go for 25, 50 & 80 or 100. Since these focal lengths are available quite cheaply with wide apertures.
  3. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    It depends on what you like to shoot.

    Wildlife? Then 135 to 300 prime lenses offer good value.

    Portraits? Then fast 35 to 50 primes are good.

    Macro photography? Great deals abound on 50 to 100 macros.

    Landscape? This is where it gets tough because of the crop factor of m43. Native lenses work best here in my opinion.

    I would recommend getting just one lens to start and see if you like adapted lenses since they will be manual focus and manual aperture only. Some people will find that cumbersome. A 50/1.7 or 50/1.4 is a good inexpensive place to start.
  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Don't discount the Hexanons. The 40mm 1.8 is a killer lens.
    Tack sharp with nice contrast. It's small and fast.
    That's a good starting point. You will more than likely get the 20 1.7 and the 40 is a nice complement to that.
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Depends what you want to spend. There are a lot of nice lenses that you pick up pretty cheaply. That said, I find that the fast normal primes are the ones I use most of the legacy lenses I have. They make nice fast portrait lenses.

    The Konica 40 (as Streetshooter suggested) is a nice sharp and relatively cheap lens to pick up. I think there is one in the buy sell section of this site right now. Bargain wise a lens like the Konica 50/1.7 is hard to beat. It's dirt cheap, insanely sharp and easy to find. I like the Pen-F 38/1.8 and 40/1.4. They're a good bit more expensive but a step up in sharpness and rendering IMHO.

    I agree that for WA you're better off with the native lenses.
  6. iliakoltsov

    iliakoltsov Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 7, 2010
    I wouldn't agree with you guys , i think it all depends what era we are talking about old 50's lens will have a tendency to get a very soft rendering great for portrait use , a more modern one will be tack sharp.

    Dirt cheap lenses:


    Tokina RMC 28 f2.8


    Helios 44 58 F2 or if you can get a rare beast the Helios 77 50 1.7
    Pentacon MC 50 1.8
    Canon FD 50 1.8
    Minolta Rokkor 50 1.4
    Fuji Fujinon 55 1.8


    That is a tricky one as it shoots off your budget really.
    Some lenses you may consider :

    Tamron adaptall SP 90 F2.5

    Minolta MD 85 F2

    Jupiter 9 85 F2

    Canon 85 f1.8


    Makinon 135 F2.8

    Tamron adaptall 135 F2.5 ( the best of those 3)

    Tokina RMC 135 F2.8


    In my opinion it gets too long for good handheld shooting,

    Vivitar 200 3.5 is ok but very heavy

    Pentacon 200mm F4 the preset version even though it is huge it has a zillion aperture blades Smoooooth bokeh

    Zoom wise:

    Small zooms :

    Tamron SP 35-80 2.8-3.8 ( a very good forgotten lens )

    Transtandard zooms :

    I find transtandard zoom great in M4/3 eg 28-135 or 35-135 it becomes a nice telephoto zoom with a decent range.

    Tokina 35-135 F 3.5-4.5
    Tamron adaptall 35 135 F3.5-4.2 if you can get the SP 28-135 for not a lot go for it.

    Longer telephoto zooms

    Tamron 70-210 3.8-4
    Helios 80-200 F3.9
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Well, the first legacy lens to get is a used Panasonic 20/1.7... :smile:

    I have a Konica 40 that I really enjoy.

    Check out some of the lens specific threads on this forum and you may see some that appeal to you.
  8. iliakoltsov

    iliakoltsov Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 7, 2010
    sorry guys i miss-interpret your saying Streetshooter and Dixeyk. As far as the hexanon is concerned i have never tried it so cannot comment on it. :)  We all do agree that old lenses are great except as you mentioned for Wide angle simply because they are impossible to find and if you find one you will be greatly disappointed ( my experience with the Tamron SP 17 F3.5 ). Wide angle lenses should be optimized for the sensor size unfortunately this involves $$$$$$$$$$$$.
  9. retnull

    retnull Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    If you like small lenses, the Fujinon C-mount lenses are really excellent.
  10. Saelee

    Saelee Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2011
    Thanks for the tip everyone. I will keep my eye out for them.

    I am looking for a wide and a normal lens. It is kinda hard to find a wide angle lens for this system because of the 2x crop factor.

    I won't be doing any wild life photo with this camera so I don't need the extreme telephoto.
  11. If you want a wide lens I would stick to the natives; Panasonic 14mm or Olympus 17mm. I've found it best to start at 24mm with legacy lenses. 24mm lenses are still reasonably light and compact and make good standard lenses taking into account the smaller 4/3 sensor. 28mm lenses are not quite the ideal focal length but can be had quite cheaply, whereas you will usually pay more for a 24mm lens as they are much rarer.

    FWIW my two favourite 24mm lenses;


  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    The first prime I would recommend to anyone wanting to create wonderful, shallow DOF portraits is the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4. There are a bazillion of them out there for very little cost, really. You'll get a 100mm f/1.4 (35mm equivalent) that at f/1.4 to f/2.0 yields dramatic and gorgeous shallow DOF images with fantastic bokeh.

    If you want to shoot with moderate and deeper DOF, I still think the best choices are the native m4/3 lenses which also offer great auto focus and IS.

    But for that razor thin, shallow DOF look, I'd look first to the 50/1.4's of which the Canon FD is one of the best; fast, small-ish, lightweight, and so easy and economical to get your hands on. Go to eBay and choose from dozens of them for under $100.
  13. sinpig

    sinpig Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 2, 2010
    Superior, WI
    Well, I'm new to m 4/3 and to photography and the first legacy lens I bought was the Konica Hexanon 40mm, it's so sharp and the portraits are just amazing with really nice bokeh.
    It also taught me how to use manual focus and not rely so heavily on AF.
  14. cbrock

    cbrock Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have the Nikon 50 f/1.4 which can be had for about $50 on ebay. Just search "nikon 50 1.4 non-AI" and that will bring them all up. There's a buy it now one on there right now for $30 that doesnt look too bad for the price. It really helps you to learn quickly about manual focus, aperture, shutter speed. Check out my flickr for a few examples. For the price, you can't beat it!
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