Use of Hexanon 40mm 1.8 when I have Lumix 20mm 1.7?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by ckjy, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. ckjy

    ckjy New to Mu-43

    Sep 12, 2011
    Hello, I am very new to digital photography and have just started reading up on the basics of photography. I got a used E-PL1 with kit 14-42mm and the Panasonic Lumix 20mm 1.7.

    I have a friend who offered to sell me his Konica Hexanon 40mm 1.8 lens (with an adapter). He's not local so I can't really go to try out the lens. I understand the lens is manual focus and is not a wide angle lens like the Lumix 20mm.

    What would be the advantage of using the Hexanon 40mm over the Panasonic 20mm? It would appear the Panasonic 20mm is superior in every way, having a lower f-number of 1.7 vs 1.8, supports auto-focus, and already one of the sharpest lens available. Is this lens in demand because of the value for its price, or is it better than the Lumix 20mm for certain shots?

    Does the same logic apply to the 14-42 kit lens? I have hardly used it, having the 20mm. Is it useful in other ways apart from having 3x zoom capability?

    Thanks for your help. I'm excited to fall into this fascinating (and surprisingly expensive...) world of camera lens.
  2. John Bourne

    John Bourne Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 30, 2011
    The 20mm is a 'Normal' focal length on m43 (eqivalent to 40mm) which is good for general photography. Its OK for group shots but not so good for head and shoulders portraits for example. You need to get quite close to your subject with the 20mm to tightly frame head and shoulders and you will also get a mild 'large nose small ears' effect which is prominent with wider lenses. A 40mm lens (80mm focal length) solves these problems, making a good focal length for portraiture. Horses for courses as they say. Both lenses can also be used for general photography but they are quite differrent in the results they yield. The difference between f1.7 & f1.8 is minimal. You will get shallower depth of field with the 40mm by virtue of it longer focal length. There is now an alternative for this in the selection of native lenses with the recently introduced Olympus 45mm f1.8 which seems to be an excellent portrait lens at a reasonable price and of course it will autofocus.

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  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The Hexanon will have better manual focus, though it lacks autofocus. The images will give off a different air. The Hexanon was originally a pancake lens, but due to the longer flange distance and adapter will no longer be act like a pancake, which the Lumix does. The short flange distance on the m43 mount though, requires a lot of software correction of CA and distortion on lenses like the Lumix 20mm. The Hexanon will require no such software correction, and is entirely optical in performance. The longer 40mm focal length would allow you a more shallow DOF, however an older lens like the Hexanon won't focus as closely as a newer lens like the Lumix (45cm for the Hexanon vs. 20cm for the Lumix), so you should be able to get closer and obtain similar or even shallower DOF with the 20mm.

    As for the kit lens... yes, its only advantage is zoom range. :)

    You should try the manual lens though... you may find that you really like it, and the Hexanon is certainly a good start. It stands up incredibly well over modern digital-spec lenses. Use Program mode to operate it like Aperture Priority on a digital lens, or Manual mode otherwise.
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  4. Marcula

    Marcula Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2011
    Surrey, UK
    As John says, it's horses for courses. Both the 20mm and 40mm are excellent at what they do, which is different things - a general walk around, and a more specific portrait/mild telephoto respectively. There is a difficult-to-describe warmth and ambience to the 40mm which I personally love. I sold my 14-42mm because it was soft and slow by comparison - and I thereafter decided I would concentrate on primes with my m4/3 set-up (I have a comprehensive Canon DSLR rig too). 'Expensive' is of course relative, but there is a lot of tremendous value older glass available, I'm finding. The burgeoning reputation of Konica Hexanons on the m4/3 format has perhaps elevated their price in the last couple of years, but there is a much, much wider selection of prime lenses in other mounts too.
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  5. ckjy

    ckjy New to Mu-43

    Sep 12, 2011
    These are incredibly helpful comments. It sounds like for a fraction of the cost of a more modern prime lens I can get practice working with a lens that's well designed for portrait shots, and probably avoid the need for post-processing. I also did not realize that different lens could give a different "feel" or "warmth".

    Also, the Olympus 45mm 1.8 looks amazing. I can't afford all these, I need to practice the basics first :)
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, if the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 is too much on the budget then the Hexanon 40mm f/1.8 or the Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 are very viable alternatives. I would also suggest the OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 or 50mm f/1.8 as well. The Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 is my standard go-to lens now, and I'm liking it a lot better than the digital pancakes.

    Legacy lenses are generally not as sharp wide open as modern digital-spec lenses, but the Zuiko and Hexanon primes are some of the sharpest for 35mm film and they will not disappoint. :D
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  7. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    if your friend is selling the 40mm Hexanon to you for a reasonable price and the lens is in good condition, you should go for it. The Hexanon 40mm has a unique character, almost a dual character. Wide open, it is soft and dreamy, stopped down just a bit, it is super sharp. If you find that you don't like it, you can always sell it for about the same as what you paid for it. It's an inexpensive way to explore a moderate-tele, manual focus prime lens.
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  8. mxlin

    mxlin Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 6, 2010
    Pennsylvania, USA
    ...another one you may want consider, it's compact as the Konica 40mm but optically not as superior = Minolta MD 45mm f2.0.
  9. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Guys, it's not like he's looking for a lens. The offer came across, and he wants to know about it. Giving him alternatives doesn't help him.

    OP, as others have said, you are zoomed in twice as much. This means different field of view, different perspective, smaller depth of field for the same focal distance, etc. As you have noticed, you have an interchangeable-lens camera. The point is, you're expected to switch lenses for different situations, to best suit your needs. Considering Panasonic sells lenses as few as a few millimeters apart, and even some with overlapping focal lengths, you should see that more than one lens will be useful. I think that a 40mm will be a great addition to your current setup. Also Konica is a "dead" mount, in that there are no cameras made today that are made to use those lenses. Couple that with the fact that there's no autofocus lenses to worry about, and you have a perfect system to buy into, for adapting to an m4/3 camera.
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  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Tru dat. But once he starts adapting lenses, he probably won't be able to quit. :biggrin:

    And you are right that the AR mount is a great place to start...
  11. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Real Name:
    I had one copy of this lens and it did not take good photos for me. The feel it had was like shooting through a plastic film. The lens looked great but I had to sell it.
  12. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I think you should pick up the Hexanon 40mm. I use this lens about half the time, with the other half being the Panasonic 20/1.7. Switching between the two will give you a better ability to see photographically and practice composition. If you end up liking the legacy lens despite having to focus manually, there is a whole world of inexpensive lenses at different focal lengths. If that is too much hassle, you still have the kit lens and can save up for a m4/3-native lens later.

    A tip: when using the 40/1.8 be sure to zoom the image on your LCD to fine-tune the focus, unless you are willing to invest extra $$ in a viewfinder like the VF-2 or new VF-3.
  13. CCRoo

    CCRoo Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2011
    I have both the 20mm Panasonic and a Konica Hexanon 40mm. Using a legacy lens is a lot of fun. So much so, I rarely use the Panasonic. Here's why:

    - Focusing is fun. I have the VF2 viewfinder, and that adds to the fun. Pointing and shooting has it's place, but when you are really "taking pictures" manual focus is part of the pleasure.

    - Manual control of aperture on the lens barrel is fun too. If you have experience with an older 35mm camera you'll feel right at home shooting with an M43 camera, a VF2 and a legacy lens. You look throughout the view finder, set focus on the lens, set the aperture on the lens. Woo hoo!

    - Some legacy lenses are just beautiful. The 20mm Panasonic is great, but it is not a feast for the eyes and doesn't feel particularly nice in the hand. The 40mm Konica is a bit plasticy, but it's still a nice object. Older lenses made of metal like my 50mm 1.4 Canon are gorgeous. They are heavy, but the weight is part of the appeal. It feels like a serious piece of equipment. (Sorta like the difference between those shiny silver spaceships in the Star Wars prequels compared to a beatup X-Wing fighter. The legacy lens is an X-Wing fighter.)

    - Legacy lens produce images with imperfections but these imperfections lend character. Each lens (even multiple versions of the same lens) has a different look. I sometimes think the image I get with the Panny 20mm is a bit cold. Sharp and accurate is not always what you want.

    - Legacy lenses can be fairly cheap and they are fun to buy.

    I think someone already said legacy lenses are part of the fun of our format here. I agree big time.

    EDIT: I forgot to say the 20mm makes beautiful images. And they are not cold, I don't know what I was thinking.
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  14. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    OM Zuiko lenses have the nicest feel for me, in both aperture ring and focus ring. And I love the aperture ring on the nose of the lens... it keeps it out of the way where it doesn't get accidentally moved.

    Zuiko lenses also have the most vibrant colors, although sometimes they are a little too warm. ;) Hexanon lenses are cooler, which can be useful for a more modern look.
  15. Jorge Ledesma

    Jorge Ledesma Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 27, 2011
    The 40mm Hexanon rocks, here's one of my recent uploads to Flickr just from today


    I'd get it and just have it for portraits and other regular work.

    Good luck.
  16. toofuu

    toofuu New to Mu-43

    Aug 8, 2011
    anyone looking to sell a 40mm f1.8? haha.. where can i get one of these?
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I might sell mine, if the price is right. I have the 50mm f/1.4 which is my better used Hexanon lens. I'll PM you.

    Here is my Hexanon 40mm f/1.8 for reference's sake... ;)

  18. Marcula

    Marcula Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2011
    Surrey, UK
    Lovely lens, the 40mm, as I mentioned above - perfect portrait length, and full of character. I've realised my most-used lenses are the 20mm, 40mm, and 57mm - practically a 3x focal length change :biggrin:
  19. SCT

    SCT Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2011
    Landover, MD, USA
    I hope there's rehab because that's becoming my issue. I just got my Konica 40 1.8 a day ago. My legacy lense collection is growing larger as I see them for sale.