Non-Panasonic Lenses and Adaptors

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by robperks, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. robperks

    robperks Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 15, 2009
    Ventura, Ca
    It is almost common knowledge that one of the perceived benefits of the mu-43 system is the ability to use a plethora of older and new non-system lenses with adapters to achieve all sorts of creative capture options. I would love to hear from those who are working these systems. What equipment are you using, how robust is the setup, tweaks and ways to get the most out of camera and lens, etc.

    The closest I come into this realm is a reversed 50mm f1.4 on the front of an old Canon point and shoot for macro shots.

    I know there are the official adapters, the eBay versions, and what else? What is the best bang for the buck?

    Edit: I just now read down to the Adapted lens section, but my comments above are more meant to be a "how to" for the panasonic cameras, in my case a GF1 - thanks
  2. Chris Mann

    Chris Mann New to Mu-43

    Dec 31, 2009
    My GH-1 is still on its way from B&H, but I ordered it with the Olympus OM adapter and plan to use it with some Zuiko MF lenses, primarily the 24mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4 - mostly for video.

    So I'll report back once I've had a chance to test the system out...
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I've only used one adapted lens on my Panasonic :43: cameras (G1/GH1), a Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5. The process is as simple as can be. The Nokton is a Leica Thread Mount (LTM), aka Leica screw mount (also used by Canon rangefinder lenses) aka M39.

    I use the M39 to :43: adapter shown here, which I bought for ~$50 on Ebay from the linked seller. It is very well made, functions perfectly, and came with a generic :43: rear cap, which is handy. The Nokton screws into the adapter, and then the whole thing mounts on the camera just like any other lens.

    The camera must be set to function without a lens in the menu settings. Otherwise it will give an error that no lens is attached. Auto ISO in aperture priority mode will assume that you need a minimum of 1/30s shutter speed, which is inadequate for me with this lens, so I set ISO manually. Unfortunately, auto ISO does not function in 'S' or 'M' mode with the Panasonic cameras when an adapted lens is attached.

    Focus and aperture are set manually. A magnified focus view, called up automatically with a turn of the focus wheel using native :43: lenses, must be called up manually if desired while using an adapted lens. With the latest GF1 firmware, that takes 1 button press. With the G1 and GH1, it takes 2. However, I find that the G1 and GH1 EVF resolution is sufficient that I rarely need to magnify the view to get focus unless I am shooting wide open and require critical accuracy.
  4. blork

    blork Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2009
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    I recently bought the Voigtlander adapter for mu-43 and Nikon F mount, with the intention of digging out my old manual focus Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens.

    So far so good. Super simple to use: simply mount the Nikkor lens onto the adapter and then mount the combined piece onto the GF1. As expected, aperture and focus are done manually, as there are no linkages (and it's not an AF lens). Also, I had to set the GF1 to "Take photos without lens," as the camera doesn't recognize it has a lens on it with this setup, and if that setting is not *on* you get a warning that there is no lens attached and it won't trip the shutter.

    I've also noticed a lot of ghosting and specular highlights when taking photos in dark interiors that have bright points of light in the scene. I think that might be caused by those points of light reflecting off of the sensor and onto the back element of the lens -- something that was unknown when they designed those lenses back in the film days.

    However, I'm liking it so far, although focusing isn't always easy! (I don't like using focus assist, because it fills the full LCD frame, making it hard to compose.)
  5. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    i have adapters for nikon, voightlander m, and 39 mm screw mount, as well as adapter made from drilled body caps for pentax auto 110 lenses like the 18 the 24 [ size of a pepsi cap!] and the 50 , also custom adapters for fixed focus lenses taken from cheaper 110 cameras, as well as higher end canon 110

    the canon is what im playng with now trying to design a focus mechanism and diaphram.
    its a slide focus at the moment just to see the focus range and sharpness , its an excellent lens imho . its about the size of a mimi marshmallow, but a lot better optically
    :) the specs for tis tiny lens are amazing .......its a 26mm f 2.0 lens , ive only used it wide open so far and its as bright, sharp, and contrasty as any of the slr lenses ivbe adapted .

    110 lenses had to have an image circle almost exactly the same size m4\3 lenses, so they are perfect for adapting and show how truely small m4\3 lenses can actually be , something panasonic and olympus has not shared with us yet, imo and based on the grossly oversized barrels they supplied with to enclose the lens elements within[ the 20 1.7 for example]

    sadly ,we may never see truely compact lenses for this system, but the era of 110 photography shows that they were not only possible , but were used in designed and implimented in many good machines
  6. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    look up baffeling on the internet this can improve contrast and minimize the condition your talking about , it a way of reducing the extra light from bouncing around the chamber of the adapter \back of lens

    the image circle of 35 mm lenses is alot larger than that of m4\3 you can reduce it with baffeling and improved the performance of adapted lenses without losing stops of light
    whrere max f stop is concerned
  7. adsinger

    adsinger Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 2, 2010
    First Coast, FL
    Hello, I've just registered here so I'm a newby. Not so new to photography though. Have been shooting for forty years or so, digiitally for the last ten. I've just sold all my Canon DSLR gear, haven't used it since buying a Leica D Lux-4 eighteen months ago. The Leica will stay but I see the m4/3 system as a logical step in my desire for small but capable. My gear does not have to be pocketable. I do, however, quite a bit of motorcycle touring where space is always at a premium.

    I have a few lenses that I think will be effective on a m4/3 camera; Konica 40mm f1.8 and 135mm f3.5, Helios 58mm f2.0, and a Pen F 50-90mm zoom. I plan to buy a Panny 20mm and maybe 14-45 zzom.

    I continue to waffle about on the choice of body to use. The GF-1 is probably my "favorite" but I worry about how well it will work with my lenses, especially the longer ones. How well will I be able to focus manually? How is holding a 270mm equivalent lens? Or I could go for the G1/GH1 which would give me a viewfinder for focus and a body shape that can place the camera against the forehead for tele use. But do I give up a lot of size this way? Lastly, there is the E-P2, wins on style/size and has the eye-level viewfinder but seems to suffer in the AF mode. I can't get a good read on "how slow is slow?".

    Yes, I should go to a camera store and try them, but there are none anywhere near here. So I'm posting in hopes of advice from you folks who may have the same needs.

    Thanks for listening.

  8. chalkdust

    chalkdust Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 29, 2009
    McKinney, Texas
    adsinger, since this thread is about non-panasonic/olympus lenses, the auto focus "slowness" of the EP1/2 should not be a problem. :) You ask all the same questions I would ask. I prefer the eye-level view finder of the G1/GH1/EP2 for my work. You are, of course, not LIMITED to an eye-level view finder with them. How much you do want video capability? If you would use that seldom-to-never, the G1 is a good option. But if you would like to do some video, stick to the GH1/EP2.
    my $0.02.
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Alan, I copied your post and chalkdust's reply to a new thread here where you may get more replies.
  10. blork

    blork Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2009
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    A follow-up on the "ghosting" issue with my Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens I mentioned a few posts up. It turns out the culprit was the skylight filter I had on the front of the lens. Silly me! I forgot it was even there (after all, I put it on in 1993!). I tested it last night with and without the filter, and there was no ghosting when the filter was off.
  11. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Question: I'm thinking to add a wider prime for my GF1 (currently using the 20mm). Anyone have specific recommendations for legacy primes around 10/12mm?
  12. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Bullfrog, that's a difficult one... I'd stick with the 14-45mm kit lens for now until the wide pancakes are released later this year.

    Panasonic have announced a 14mm f2.8 and Olympus have indicated something perhaps wider (11 or 12mm)... legacy lenses tend to be either much more expensive or much bulkier for no better image quality.


  13. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I had forgotten that there are new lenses on the horizon Brian, so thanks for that reminder. I most likely will wait as, for me, the convenience of a more modern lens is probably more suited to my skill level than wishfully thinking I can get the best out of older, rarer glass:smile:
  14. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    I saw a 15mm rangefinder prime lens being used by a friend on his G1 some time ago - I think the maximum aperture was f5.6 and it was poorer quality than the kit lens, which starts out at 14mm f3.5

    It was a cute little prime lens, but we have to be realistic - there aren't that many great options for m4/3rds in wide angle from the legacy lens world (as far as I know).

    I like my ZD 11-22, but it's too bulky for the Pen form factor (I've now become spoilt by the m4/3rds lenses for size)


  15. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    Real Name:
    There isn't really anything legacy usable and affordable in that sort of focal length.

    There are quite a few c-mount lenses but most of these were made for 16mm film and don't cover the image area of FT.

    Older and redundant formats like half-frame 35mm didn't have really wide lenses as there were few interchangeable cameras around in those formats. The Pen F was one of the few.

    Many full frame lenses have problems as they were not designed to direct light near perpendicular to the sensor. A piece of film wouldn't care what angle the light was hitting it but each of the light gathering bits of censors are slightly recessed as something needs to hold them in place (I guess). Wide non-digital lenses cause the worst problems.

    A good choice is to use a FT adapter and standard FT glass for wide shots. The Olympus 9-18 zoom is good value but a more compact MFT version will be out in a couple of months.

    Panasonic have their 7-14 MFT lens but it is expensive. On the other hand, it is very good.

    Probably the best of my legacy lenses are the Olympus OM 28mm f/2.8, Schneider 40mm f/1.9 (Robot mount 24x24mm format) and Olympus OM 50mm f/3.5 macro (with 25mm extension tube).

    My duds are the Olympus OM 50mm f/1.4 single coated which suffers from too much flare and not enough contrast, and the Olympus OM 200mm f/4 which simply isn't sharp enough.

    I will most likely play with other lenses from time to time, but I have come to the conclusion that the later digital lenses are doing quite a good job and it is hard for most of these legacy lenses to compete. Mind you, I do like MF lenses, particularly if I don't need to rush into a shot.
  16. Alan Wolf

    Alan Wolf Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 20, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
    C mount Cine / Video for wide angles

    Any day now I should be getting in a 12.5 Cosmicar (Pentax) 1 inch video lens ($30 with shipping!) in a standard C mount. Too good to be true? Yes—the entire frame will not be covered. My plan is to mainly use this in the square format (which I've been REALLY enjoying!) and that the corners will be darker (or even black at wider apertures—I'll post some results when it's in).

    C mount lenses longer than 25mm typically will fill the full 3 x 4 frame fine, but that's obviously not wide angle. There seem to be several short cine lenses that do a good job, but they have become much more expensive now that there is a current use for them.

    I haven't gotten an adapter for my Y/C Zeiss lenses yet; I think they'd be too unbalanced on the little GF1, but am curious about the 15mm Distagon. I think waiting for the Olympus wide is in my future. The Panasonic 14 (why couldn't it have been a 12?) will need to be as good as the 20 to tempt me (and I was never that crazy about 28mm FOV in any case).
    • Like Like x 2
  17. sebastel

    sebastel Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2010
    not your business
    summary of adapters i use:

    for Leica M mount -
    the adapter was a tiny little bit too long, so i sanded it down until infinite focus could be achieved. thanks to the construction of the adapter this sanding procedure was fairly easy.
    the fit of the mounts is on the tight side.

    RJ camera (also known as jinfinance):
    for Leica M mount -
    for Leica M39 thread mount -
    for 4/3 mount -
    for contax/nikonS outer bayonet -
    good quality, focusing to infinity is possible (adapters can be a tiny bit short), no fitting problems with the E-P1. the fit is smooth, not as tight as novoflex.
    additional remarks:
    the 4/3 adapter is intended to be used with manual lenses adapted to 4/3. i use the OM Zuiko 50mm macro on it as well as the 1.2/55mm, several M42 lenses and a C/Y mount tokina telezoom. mounting an adapter on an adapter is not as stable, but still fair enough.
    the nikonS adapter currently comes only with outer bayonet. i'm looking for the next version featuring the inner bayonet including the focusing helicoid.

    while these adapters are clearly cheaper made compared to the novoflex, i do not see a difference in using them.

    • Like Like x 1
  18. sebastel

    sebastel Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2010
    not your business
    remark on C-mount lenses.

    in a shop in shanghai, a vendor offered a (new) pentax 25mm lens. it showed heavy vignetting, different to the example pictures available somewhere else on the web.
    my (unverified) guess is, that he is offering the 2/3 inch version of the lens (opposed to the 1 inch version which is also available).

    also this one asked a higher price than noted for the 1" version at B+H for example ...

    so: be careful when buying C mount lenses!

    • Like Like x 1
  19. Carlarm

    Carlarm Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    I've got a fair number of older Nikon lenses (manual & auto focus) so I bought the Fotodiox adapter (from to let me try them on my G1. The manual focus lenses work better than the auto-focus because the focus rings are larger and work more smoothly. I can live with the manual focus but having to manually stop down the lens is truly retro. In all but the oldest SLRs you focus wide open and the lens automatically gets stopped down right before the shutter opens. I guess if you don't stop the lens down too much you can focus at the working aperture because the live view boosts the brightness but you lose the focusing leverage the wider aperture gives.

    The only two lenses of mine that seem to make sense on the G1 are my 50mm f1.8 and 80mm f2.0. I've also tried a 105mm f2.5 but when I activate the focus-assist the image jumps around too much to be useful unless the camera is on a tripod. The test pictures I've taken so far are plenty sharp but haven't got any keepers yet.
  20. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Could you post a sample from the 105mm...that was my favorite lens of all time....