Recommendation for legacy prime lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Will H, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Will H

    Will H New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2015
    Hi everyone

    I'm new to all this having just bought a Panasonic G3, and I'm looking to get a second hand prime lens to use with it via an adapter.

    Will £100 ($150) get me anything reasonable?

    Any advice appreciated

    Many thanks

  2. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Yes, there are a lot of good lenses even below 50$ if you are not in a hurry. Or with that price you can get very good lenses (Nikon 28/2.8, Nikon 105/2.5, Canon FD 400/4.5, Tamron 70-210/3.5 just to name a few). Just search ebay for "manual focus".

    The 50mm are usually the cheapest ones. Nikon Series E is a compact one for example, but there are many.

    Have a look here for some options:

    Also consider the Sigma primes if simply looking for cheap but good lenses.
  3. ManofKent

    ManofKent Hopefully still learning

    Dec 26, 2014
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    Real Name:
    It depends what focal length you want, and how fast...

    My favourite legacy prime is the Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm 2.4 - generally sells for around £80-100. M42 adapter will be around £10-15.

    Slightly longer focal length the Konica 40mm f1.8 is a very nice lens (although it's a bit flare prone wide open) very good from f2, particularly with a hood (around £30-40).

    Longer still there are a wide range of 50's available very cheaply - my favourite is the Nikkor 50 f2 (£50?). The Konica 50 1.7 is very nice too and slightly cheaper.

    Plenty of 135's available. I like the Carl Zeiss MC 135/3.5 - small, and sharp and the Tair 11 - big heavy and Russian, but gorgeous bokeh... Neither are expensive.

    Plenty of other choices too...
  4. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Canon FD 50mm f/1.4

    Fast, beautiful, a go-to lens for its two-decade existence.

    Mint copies go for around $100. The adapter will set you back $10.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I've never had good luck with legacy lenses wider than 35mm on M4/3, but there's tons of great quality longer lenses. Any sort of 50/1.8 or 1.4, as already mentioned. However, I also highly recommend legacy macro lenses, since they can serve double duty. The Vivitar 55mm 2.8 I would especially recommend, as it goes to 1:1, is very sharp, and very cheap. The 80s Sigma 50mm/2.8 MF Macro is similar.
  6. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Welcome to the forum Will :D

    We might be better able to help you if you could give us an idea on the focal length you are interested in?
  7. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2013
    My advise would be to grab a good M42 adapter and just start playing. Pick up inexpensive lenses. Take them with you. Enjoy them. Sell them when you find yourself not using them as often. Pick up something else. Rinse. Repeat.
    They're all fun in their own way. Start with something like a Helios-44 or Jupiter-11. Takumars are fun.
  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would go with Minolta, Canon FD, or Konica as they have shallower mounts and only really work on mirrorless. There are a ton of cheap options. M42, Olympus and Nikon pretty much adapt to everything, so they have a bit more demand and competition from the SLR guys. Without a usage scenario mentioned it is hard to recommend something specific, though.

    If this is to be your only lens, you may not enjoy what the manual focus world has to offer. With the crop factor, all but the widest film lenses become short telephotos. That's not terribly versatile as an only lens. I might suggest a used Panasonic 14mm f2.5, Olympus 17mm f2.8 or Sigma 19mm f2.8 as an alternative. It might be close, but I think you could find one with your budget.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  9. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:

    short answer = YES

    I'd say that given your budget consider a 50mm as others have suggested. There are such good offerings in native now at shorter focal lengths as to make it moot, but its 50mm and longer where legacy still offers something.

    I have an amount of FD and concur that the FD50f.14 is a sweet lens, however equally I like my OM lens and I can use that on my EOS camera but can't use the FD (due to focal flange distance issues with FD to EOS).

    I know you can get a cheapie adapter but if you go the FD path I'd say start with a cheapie then consider on by Ciecio7 on ebay .. primo stuff at good prices.

    Some posts of mine
    the Ciecio7 adapter was my first
    I bought a cheapie (and it was)
    he updates his product and makes small improvements
    FD vs OM 50mm

    best wishes
  10. G3user

    G3user Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 26, 2013
  11. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Real Name:
    If you keep your eyes open & recognise the mounts you can get some real bargains with old lenses.
    I've got a Helios 44m 58mm/f2 for £5 (with free camera/flash...) a Carl Zeis Jena 135mm/f2.8 for £5, (both M42) and a slightly grubby Tamron SP90mm/f2.5 macro for £1.

    To make the last one even better it came with an adaptall2 mount for PK which is on it's own sells for over £10. :)

    Now I've got hold of a M42 adaptall mount it's high time I gave them all another go, mounted via my helicoid M42-µ4/3 adapter. My helicoid adapter is about 0.1mm too long for infinity focus (I guess I should have got the more expensive one) which had a big impact with my 28mm M42, but should make less difference with the longer lenses.
  12. Will H

    Will H New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2015
    Fantastic - thanks for the recommendations

    With regard to focal length, I think I'm right in saying the 14-42 zoom lens that came with the camera equates roughly to an old 28-80?

    Therefore if I put a legacy 50mm on, the results would look like they were taken with a 100mm in old money?

    And if I want the photos to look like they were taken with a 50mm, I'd need to put on something like a 24 or 28mm legacy lens?
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I think you've got it.

    A 25mm on m4/3 system will look like a 50mm shot on a Film SLR, yes. If you take the 50mm from the Film SLR and put it on a m4/3 body, it would give a view like a 100mm used on an SLR. There are differences in DOF and "look", but arguments around that can go on for pages, so I'll just mention it in passing.

    Unfortunately, going wider than about 35mm in actual focal length, there aren't a lot of attractive adapted lens options. Most of the lenses at 28mm or wider in the film era were not that great and not that fast. You might find a decent 28mm f2.8 that looks good stopped down to f3.5 for example, but that's pretty boring and still kind of a long normal. The few that are very good or very fast, still command a pretty hefty premium because people buy them to use on FF SLR or cameras like the A7. So, again, I'd personally stick to AF lenses for anything wider than about 35mm in actual focal length. There's no reason to adapt a mediocre 24 or 28mm f2.8 when you can use excellent native lenses like the SIgma 19mm and 30mm for under $150 used.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Real Name:
    There are cheap 25mm C-mount lenses which are fairly fast, but although they give a nominal normal lens they exhibit strange distortions on the outer parts of the image often refered to as 'swirly bokeh'. They can be quite fun, and if you find the right subject can give good results, but I would'nt recomend starting out with them ;)
    IIRC my 25mm/1.7 was £18 with the adapter.
  15. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Will, you're asking for a legacy 24mm or maybe a 28mm. In that focal length, unless someone gives you one, I wouldn't buy one. A used M43 Sigma 19mm or 30mm, both f2.8 lenses, would be a better use for your money. A 24mm lens was hard to design and make 40 years ago, it still tend to be overpriced for what you get. I don't own any 24's, but have a few 28's, and most of mine are not as good as a modern 14-42.

    Now if you're looking to shoot the 50mm and 135mm focal lengths, these should be cheap and common, but will give good results. You ought to be able to buy both together for £50.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. dweller

    dweller Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 14, 2012
    London, UK
    In addition to those suggested I like my Vivitar 28mm f2.8 Close Focus lens. There are also small cheap lenses you can have fun with like the Pentax 110 system lenses (they're all fixed at f2.8) and the Pentax Cosmicar 25mm F1.4 c-mount TV lens is great if you can find one. At 16:9 you can remove the vignetting and 3:2 isn't bad.
  17. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:
    Hi Will

    exactly on the money. To me the 50mm is way better image quality stuff than the 28's. Unless you really want a "holga - instagram" look. I recently bought a Oly 45 native lens and among the first things I did was compare it to my OM50mm which I'd been using for years. I have that up on this post:

    I've been in m43 since 2009 and I struggled with there being a lack of a good "standard" prime. I initially examined the 20mm when it came out, but it was bloody dear back then. I've tried a few 28mm lenses and found that the Olympus 28mm f2.8 is pretty darn good. So good in fact that I was really of the view it was better than the Sigma native 30mm f2.8

    It of course depends on what you want, but for me the f4.5 of the kit zooms at the 25mm mark VS the legacy lenses at f2.8 I wasn't seeing so much difference (appraising things subjectively, not through the eyes of "want to see a difference) that I pretty much only now use my 28mm lens back on my 35mm film OM-1 camera. That the native lenses bring AF and auto aperture to the equation only makes it make more sense. I picked up a Pana20mm f1.7 for about $200 Australian a while back and ... well I'm really happy with it.

    I'm now down the path of legacy is best for "special effects" and telephoto (where 50mm and longer is what I use it for). My current lens legacy outfit

    as well as a few Pentax 110 lenses (this is the 50, I use it and the 70mm when I want to do compact)


    and this is my remaining C mount lens


    but its a bit "holga" looking as it does not cover the frame.

    Best Wishes
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
  18. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 15, 2014
    Lenses I bought for less than $150 and love:

    Legacy: Olympus PEN 38/1.8, Canon FD 50/1.4, Nikon AI macro 55/3.5

    C-mount: Fujian 35/1.7, Navistar 75/1.4
  19. EdH

    EdH Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 14, 2014
    Devon, UK
    Real Name:
    I'd second the Olympus Pen 38mm f1.8. Think I paid about £60 for mine, plus customs as it came from Japan. It's a compact and very versatile lens, usable from wide open unlike many legacy lenses.

    Another favourite of mine is the Nikon Nikkor-O 35mm f2. I paid £70 for mine. I think you pay less for non-AI Nikon lenses as the Nikon DSLR crew can't use them. This one's also usable from wide open and like the Olympus 38mm has a usefully small minimum focus distance.

    Of the 50s, I'd pick my Konica Hexanon 50mm f1.7. These are cheap and very sharp. I paid about £20.
  20. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 5, 2014
    I am a big fan of the Minolta Rokkor MC/MD series, the 58mm f=1.4 and 50mm f=1.7 are the two I like the most of the copies I have, but I also have the 28mm f=2.8 and some longer primes (135mm, 200mm).