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Pricing of retro lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by MSnap, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. MSnap

    MSnap Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Apr 27, 2013
    I've been looking at some pictures taken with various old lenses on m43 cameras. And then I had a look at pictures taken with those very expensive m43 lenses...

    You can see where this is going. The new lenses are ten times the price of the old ones. They have auto-focus, yes, (and auto aperture control, and EXIF information) but is that it?

    Discuss ;-)

    I generally like retro things, so I'm really looking forward to getting a retro lens and learning how to use it. It's a shame the camera won't beep when the chosen spot is in focus. Seems like it could if they wanted it too...
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Retro lenses also have aperture control, assuming they're "retro" enough. It's on the lens itself. The only two things missing are Autofocus and lens EXIF. Also, if you're using a body with IBIS (ie, an Olympus), then you will have to manually dial in a focal length for IBIS. Of course, this works better with primes than zoom.

    Only thing I would caution is that you'll generally get better results with prime lenses over zooms since most zooms didn't reach any comparative quality to primes until the digital era.

    Personally, I think adapted lenses are still an essential part of the system, for as long as our lens lineup is still in the "development" stages. It has grown extremely rapidly, but it's still incomplete as should be expected at its young age (compared to other non-reflex systems our selection is ginormous!). Main thing we'll still missing are fast super-telephotos, both primes and zoom... although we've already gotten up to mid-tele which is not bad.
     
  3. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    668
    Mar 19, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Mike
    Let me add my 2 cents.

    Some lenses are more $$ and some are less $$. Discuss.
     
  4. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Wait a minute...
    There's a retro lens & then there's a vintage lens.....:smile:
     
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    The OMD looks pretty retro... but it's expensive. What gives?


    Ok to be serious for a moment. Yes modern lenses are more expensive than what you call 'retro' lenses (most of us call them legacy or vintage lenses by the way). Modern lenses have the benefit of auto focus and in almost all cases, better image quality. Adapted lenses can come close, but usually fall short in some areas. Softness at wide open apertures is one of the main weaknesses. Also, if you like to shoot wide angle, native lenses are the way to go.

    The reason why you see some fine examples of images taken by legacy lenses are: 1. There are a lot of good photographers on here. and 2. Most of us that use legacy lenses have gotten pretty good at it. Manual focusing is not for everyone though.
     
  6. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    In the Nikon circles there is a quasi-common topic about a characteristic of the old lenses that don't always work well with a digital sensor. My understanding (as limited as it may be) is that lenses that were developed for film were designed for the omni directional sensitivity of the film emulsion. Because modern digital sensors are more "focused" than the onmi directional film emulsion, the modern lenses are also "focused" to better transmit the image to the digital sensor.

    I really don't know how true this is, and it may be nothing more than having tested the modern lenses with modern sensors (and vice versa) and tweaked the modern lens design to work better with the sensor.
     
  7. Gary Ramey

    Gary Ramey Mu-43 Veteran

    240
    Dec 27, 2012
    Aurora Colorado
    I've been experimenting lately with a Tokina 150 ATX...150-500. If I could get this performance in a lighter lens without selling a kidney on Ebay I would in a heartbeat. The only thing I've noticed is an issue is when I do a 100% crop to sharpen the photos I notice more "noise" in the Tokina images verse those taken with say the Oly 50-200 with a 1.4TC....now that could just be the fact I've been shooting the lens mostly at 500mm but please discuss.
     
  8. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Some older lenses are far more expensive than any of the m4/3 lenses. So you can't just say old lenses are cheap. Vintage glass has also gotten much higher in price since mirrorless.

    If you have any old lenses try them out. If you want to experiment, getting old glass can be fun. You will be shooting in aperture priority mode{since you have to manually set the aperture}. You will also have to manually focus which puts a lot of people off.

    I love using my old Nikkor and other lenses when I feel creative but prefer my m4/3 lenses for general use.
     
  9. manzoid

    manzoid Mu-43 Regular

    137
    Jun 9, 2011
    Since getting into mft, I've spent a fair amount of time exploring legacy lens options. Assuming its the price/performance ratio that has interested you, as it is for me, I think it's pretty much the 28mm, 50mm, 135mm and 5Xmm macro lenses that are worth looking at.

    Other options exist, but they are generally getting heavy, too expensive, or too long to focus hand held. Just trying to save you some time...

    Also as a disclaimer, I have no doubt others may successfully focus 200mm + lenses, find a bargain, or find them not too heavy, but i think the ones I mentioned are at least the cheapest starting points.
     
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    In my experince having tried many OM, FD, Takumar and a couple of voigtlander in m mount (oh, and one Nikon e series), legacy lenses give you a different kind of look that can be fun, but most all of them are soft or ghost or bleed when wide open on a digital sensor, but stop them down, and they can be nearly as sharp as a modern lens (depending on which legacy lens you are using). Some have really nice mf rings, and the external ap dial is great. MF is fun, but can get old after a while (at least to me). Right now, I only have two legacy lenses, both FD - 50mm 1.4 for specific portrait work, and 50mm macro for occasional macro. I also have 3 PK mount lenses, but those are for my film camera.
     
  11. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    330
    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    I bought the m43 45mm for £209 brand new. I very much doubt I would be able to buy a "vintage" 50mm lens, that was anywhere near as sharp at say f/2, for twenty pounds and ninety pence :) I have a beat up, dust and dirt filled OM 50mm f/1.8 with seized screws so I can't even clean it up. I'm sure I'd get more than £20 for it on eBay, and at no point does it have the sharpness and contrast of the 45mm.
     
  12. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    651
    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Mike
    I've heard similar comments on how digital sensors require the light to arrive more perpendicular than film did. It's quite probably true but I've used a lot of legacy glass on my Pentax and I've never experienced any issues in real life except perhaps with the Tasco telescope (1000-4000mm before cropping - it works fine as a scope but add the T2 mount & contrast disappears...).
     
  13. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    941
    Oct 20, 2011
    ...at least the c mounts are getting cheaper. Just yesterday down at the bay I noticed a reasonably priced Toyo 25mm f.95 for ONLY $600. A steal! last year that would have been over $1000. Angie's still seem to be high, but are easily found under $1000 now.
     
  14. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I'm a big fan of Legacy glass. I like the positive control it gives me since I almost always magnify the image in the VF-2 to insure I attain the proper plane of critical focus. I find auto focus to still be a bit hit or miss at times and focus by wire just never feels like it works smoothly.
     
  15. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
    For what its worth, the sensor on new Leica M240 has special microlenses ontop of the photosites to help guide the light that doesn't arrive perpendicular. However I'm not sure it would be as useful on 4/3rds sensors, since they crop out the center of the image circle where the rays are mostly perpendicular. At least for SLR lenses. For some range finder lenses it might be nice to have. The rear element of the contax 28mm f2.8 gets pretty close to the sensor.
     
  16. PMCC

    PMCC Mu-43 Regular

    132
    Feb 18, 2013
    The point of a vintage lens is not just going for the lowest price possible, but to get the best of yesteryear at a still much lower than a native lens.

    Also, besides sharpness, rendering of color, highlight and shadow details are important factors of lens performance.