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Quality of Pen f Lenses?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by carpandean, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Looking on Ebay, there seem to be a lot of original Pen f lenses for sale for not too much and plenty of Pen f to :43: adapters. Being relatively narrow, they also fit the GF1/E-P1/E-P2/E-PL1 size camera bodies well.

    Since I can't afford a ton of Leica (or even Voigtlander) glass right now, I'm wondering about the quality of these old half-frame lenses. Are they at least pretty good?
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have a PEN F 40/1.4 and it is true that it fits better with the small bodies. I have a mint 40/1.4 and it has very nice image quality. It is very sharp form 2.8 on and it has very nice bokeh. I also find that it produces very pleasing color. I like the fact that it close focuses to around a foot (much closer than a Summicron C 40/2 or M-Rokkor 40/2). That said, I don't know that I would put it in the same league as those lenses quality wise...but then again its a lot cheaper.

    It depends what you are looking for. Mine is pretty new so I haven't had a chance to really give it a fair shake but I think there are a lot of legacy lenses that are as good or better image wise that you can get for less. If you want something that has a small adapter and fits the small bodied m43 cameras though...its a really good option. Of the PEN F lenses the 38/1.8 is supposed to be the biggest bargain. I've used one briefly and it is VERY nice.

    Alternately, a Jupiter 8 with a LTM to m43 adapter is also quite compact and a whole LOT cheaper than any PEN lenses.
  3. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Thanks for the quick response.
    That's one of the ones that I was most interested in.
  4. DjordjeJ

    DjordjeJ Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 19, 2009
    Belgrade, Serbia
    I used Jupiter 8, and it was very soft. Just until f4 it became useful. Maybe I had bad copy.
  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Check out this thread https://www.mu-43.com/f40/cosina-50mm-much-sharper-than-my-jupiter-8-50mm-2536/
    Whip off the backside, clean the rear lens group, smack it back together, bingo. Mine suddenly became twice as nice, half as nasty.

    As the Russkis say;"Bit of fileing..."
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway

    I also have looked on e-bay for Pen F lenses, but they seem VERY expencive, for me it looks like a better deal to go for a new Voigtander with warranty instead of a beautiful, but overpriced 40 (?) year old F lens...
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have to say I too think they are a bit spendy considering what else is available. My 40/1.4 is a very nice lens but my Konica 40/1.8 is almost identical in image quality and it cost me all of $30. My Konica 50/1.4 is as fast and I would argue is a bit sharper and has better bokeh and it was also $30. The area where the PEN lens do excel is color. Of course that is pretty much the same with every Olympus lens I have ever used.

    I still think they are very nice lenses but you have to decide if the small premium (as opposed to a large Leica type premium) you pay for them is worth it. If what is most important is compact lens then they are a great option. If image quality is more important then I think there are a number of other lenses to consider that are as good or better for less money. For the money I think FSU lenses are the best deal going. They come with risks but as my dad used to say "they punch way above their weight class".
  8. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Thanks everyone for the info!

    Some of them were, while others were not. Very hit and miss. It wasn't even condition, either. Some with full pictures of everything clean were on the low end. I posted this after seeing those, then saw more of the high premium ones later.
  9. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    Using Pen F lenses for micro four thirds

    The main reason I jumped into the micro 4/3 system was to use all my legacy film lenses, including a Zuiko 38mm F1.8 for the Pen-F. The image quality is amazing as long as the lens is in good shape and does not have a lot of scratches or fungus (I've been following a number of the Pen-F zooms for sale on Ebay--watch out for the cheap ones, the details say that the lenses have a lot of fungus).

    Here are some images from my gallery using the Pen-F 38mm:

    Also, a Texas-based photographer named Kirk Tuck has some good write-ups about the Pen-F lenses-link to one below:

    The Visual Science Lab / Kirk Tuck: No more philosophy today. Let's look at a cool, old lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    That's the thing though, while they are really nice lenses...but I'm not sure how much of a bargain they are. I had a 38/18 for a bit and it was very nice sharp lens but it too wasn't that much better than my Konica 40/1.8 (also $30). If you have one it makes sense to use it. I don't know that I would suggest going out to buy one.

    A $30 Konica 50/1.4

    My Olympus 40/1.4 can produce an image close to this but it cost 5X more.

    • Like Like x 1
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