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No adapted lenses... What am I missing?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Empireme, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    The idea of researching different lenses from the last 20 years seems like a daunting task for a new photographer like me. So that's one reason why I've stuck with just shooting with native lenses.

    I currently own a 20mm and the 45mm.

    And I'm aware that adapted lenses can be much cheaper and can take great pictures. But from what I've read on here it seems like I can't change the aperture and you can't auto focus with them.

    But I don't understand why they seem so popular on this board?

    So I have to ask the question...what I am not seeing? Are only the people who had purchased the lenses before acquiring a m4/3's the only ones using these lenses? Or people on a budget? Or am I completely misinformed on them?

    I would just like some insight from more sophisticated photographers than myself on this!
  2. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    You *can* change the aperture, so although you give up auto focus you can come out ahead on the price/performance ratio with a cheap but high quality legacy prime. Also before the Oly 45mm came out there was a lot more interest especially in legacy ~50mm lenses.

    Personally, I'm also new to photography and on a budget so I've complemented my native 20mm lens with some legacy primes to still be able to shoot at other focal lengths (no kit lens). I purchased these lenses after getting into m4/3. Manual focusing can be fun if you're taking the time to stop and think about your composition, and I figure if the great photographers could be so successful without auto focus maybe I can give it a shot too.
  3. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    You can't auto focus, but you can do anything else you'd like to do with an adapted lens.

    For me I had a couple of legacy lenses in my collection before discovering m4/3. After seeing the Pen kit lens I knew I needed to have something better. I tried the old glass and was hooked. On a limited budget, I was able to then add a number of fast lenses covering a wide range of focal lengths.

    Since then I've picked up a few native lenses, but I find that they're relatively slow, and the auto focus is often not as precise as I want. I've actually set up my movie button to toggle manual focus on/off so I can quickly fix the focus when the auto focus lenses get it wrong.
  4. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 20, 2011
    As already pointed out, you can change the aperture (extremely easily), and I don't really consider lack of autofocus much of a liability with the longer focal lengths. There's an incredible variety of excellent primes in various focal lengths that are not (and may never be) covered by native lenses.
  5. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    Avoid MF lens, they are addictive! I have the oly f2/12mm, the pany f1.7/20 and the oly 1.8/45. Great lens, I use them when I need to go fast. But now I see my self leaving them resting in the bag. MF lens are so much fun and so much cheap! You can buy great lens for peanuts. For the price of the oly f2/12mm I bought 13 MF lenses, from 24mm up to 300mm! Almost all like brand new.
  6. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2011
    United States
    Biggest reasons are cost and focal length and/or apertures not available in native glass.

    For example, I purchased a Konica 40mm f1.8 lens for $50. The equivalent native lens, the Oly 45mm f1.8, is $400.
    Also have a Fujica 135mm f2.8 from an old film SLR I bought years ago, there is no native telephoto lens that fast.
  7. hodad66

    hodad66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Indialantic, Florida
    I personally love the feeling of the manual focus on the old lenses. Imagine
    when you are shooting a bird behind some branches. The native lens keeps
    autofocusing on the foreground. Not a problem with the legacy glass.
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Well, I wouldn't say that you're MISSING anything. You can go out and take lots of photos using native glass and some native glass is pretty great like the Panasonic 20/1.7. I like adapted lenses (some) because they allow me to shoot in a way that is more tactile (setting aperture on the lens) and I can sometimes pick up really good glass for much less than it's native counterpart. Of course adapted glass requires an adapter (seems obvious) which means that you often have a much larger lens attached to your camera than you would going with native glass. I have an E-PM1 so a HUGE lens on it kind of defeats the purpose. That said, the Konica 40 is a nice match as are RF style lenses such as the Summicron 40/2 or much less spend Jupiter 8 50/2) of older Pen F lenses like the 38/1.8 and 40/1.4.

    Yes, they ARE addictive.
  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I have quite a few legacy lenses.....you can see some of my shots here

    Legacy lenses - a set on Flickr

    these were shot either on a micro 4/3 or a 4/3 SLR.

    To me there are several reasons for having them and shooting with them

    1) Larger apertures - for both keeping up the shutter speed in low light and for giving you a shallower depth of field than the kit lenses - that advantage has become less over that last year due to the arrival of faster native lenses.

    2) A different 'look' - older lenses tend to have a bit more character - they are not as perfect in many cases, often with lower contrast - but they seem to me to be less digital looking

    3) A connection with history - I have classic lenses that have been used in the past by the photographers I grew up admiring. They are wonderful bits of engineering that feel like they will last forever

    4) they take you out of a comfort zone and encourage you to think more about your shots

    Some people who get into this go for the cheapest lenses and others speedway too much for the esoteric lenses - me I usually spent in the 100 - 200 dollar range and got what were top of the range lenses from the big manufacturers like Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Zeiss and others

  10. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I went through several legacy lenses and found the image quality inferior to my 2 native lenses, plus they're heavier and don't auto focus (you can easily make the focus box tiny on the EPL1 for precise auto focusing). They did impart a quite pleasing alternative character to the image, but not one I'd bother changing lenses for. I sold them all.
    It seemed to me to get good old lenses that out-perform an equivalent native one you have to start paying a not insignificant amount.
  11. hodad66

    hodad66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Indialantic, Florida
    the character of the bokeh (out of focus background) is one draw.
    here is a shot with the Canon FD 135mm f2.5

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    another with the Canon FD 135mm 2.0 (just got it)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    and one shot with the Canon FD 300mm 2.8

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    do I still have Lumix lenses.... you bet! For quick, light, image treks...... ;-)
  12. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    I already have a pile of good old glass - Leica & Nikon. Of course I'm going to buy adaptors and use them on my E-PL1. Fun stuff and my Pre-AI Nikkors are some of the finest lenses of all time - I've a 28/3.5, 35/2, 50/.4 & 105/2.5 that I use regularly on my F2. Each is just as stellar on the Olympus. I will pick up a Pre-AI 24/2.8 out of my next paycheck because it's a very high quality normal lens on my Olympus as well as being a nice wide angle on my F2 for silly little money.

    It's good cheap fun.
  13. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    As you can see legacy lenses are very much a personal preference depending on your own style.

    I always recommend getting a cheap lens and an adapter and giving it a try. You can always sell it for most, if not all, of what you pay for it.
  14. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    "What you're missing" is actually a very straightforward answer. Fast telephotos (prime or zoom), and fast zooms. Micro Four-Thirds doesn't have them yet (emphasis on yet - this is only a 3 year old system), so you can only obtain them with adapted lenses.

    Budget comes into play in some purchases, but not when you're simply after lenses you can't get in one particular format. If you're adapting modern lenses to gain high-powered fast zooms and telephotos, you're looking at lenses worth thousands of dollars instead of hundreds. The most expensive Micro Four-Thirds lens I can think of is only $1200 (the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95), so it's definitely not just about cost. On the other hand, for a few hundred dollars I can get some pretty darn good legacy lenses (particularly primes) which come close to those high-powered modern lenses. So budget can certainly be a factor, but only one of many. If I want a lens which is not available for Micro Four-Thirds, I can either adapt an expensive modern one or an inexpensive legacy one. My choice, but either way my options are bountiful.

    If you go the legacy route and want lenses that will compete with modern pro glass, then I highly suggest sticking with primes. Zoom lenses couldn't afford the quality of primes until more recently. I trust my Four-Thirds Zuiko Digital zooms as well as any primes, but they aren't in the same price bracket as legacy primes, either.
  15. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Of course native lenses all focus manually as well so this isn't really an issue.


    I just re-read this and I sound like a jerk. I really just meant to be helpful and if I sound offensive I'm sorry.
  16. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Well, sort of ... the MF over-ride of native lenses is really terrible compared to true manual focus of legacy or the Voightlander 25mm F0.95 lens focus mechanism. When AF fails and MF over-ride is a neccessity the native AF lenses show tremendous weakness compared to legacy MF glass.
  17. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 20, 2011
    Manual focusing on most native lenses is nothing like manual focusing on an adapted lens. On my minoltas I've learned to get good at prefocusing just by eyeing the subject and dialing to the proper point on the distance scale printed on the lenses or whatever distance (close or far away) I want to start focusing from to help nail focus quickly.
  18. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Ok, I agree with you. Unfortunately the problem can be more the camera than the lens. Just switching to manual focus can be a chore. I think the G2 (maybe others but the only one I've used) got it right. I can flick a switch without looking to get to manual,and there's a focus scale on the screen and/or viewfinder to prefocus.

  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The best manual focusing I get is from real manual focus lenses, but there are different levels of those. The OM Zuikos are some of my consistent favorites, with their raised rubber focus rings. However, I've also had some stiff old knobbed metal rings which are not easy to focus with at all. Though not my favorite, the fly-by-wire focus of my Zuiko Digital lenses are much better than some manual lenses. Then there are Autofocus lenses which have mechanical couplings, such as the Zuiko SWD lenses. Because they are motor driven they are not as nice to focus as a good manual focus lens (like say the OM Zuikos), but are better than fly-by-wire and some cheaper manual lenses. So just being made a manual focus lens doesn't necessarily make it better... ;) 
  20. AmstelBright

    AmstelBright Mu-43 Veteran

    You're missing the fun of taking manual control (at least focus and aperture) of your photos. And once you do that you may get hooked, like I did.

    And the good news is: it won't cost you hundreds of dollars to give it a try. My first legacy lens was a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 plus Canon FD adapter that I found for less than $40 (together) on eBay, including shipping costs. That amount of money gives you the opportunity to make beautiful photos like these and it also gives you more than enough opportunity to find out whether or not you like toying with manual focus lenses.

    One thing though: I also use a VF2 electronic viewfinder on my E-PL1 camera. I don't think I would have liked manual focus lenses half as much without that accessory.
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