What small-format lens types are GOOD?


Nov 19, 2012
Maryland, US
Real Name
I enjoy using lenses from 35mm film SLRs on my MFT camera, but I know I'm wasting a lot of their glass. What other kinds of lenses are available, that were designed for smaller formats, and that give good image quality?

I guess lenses designed for the original PEN half-frame cameras would have a perfect image circle for Micro Four Thirds. Are adapters easily available? Are there half-frame lenses from makers besides Olympus?

I've seen "cine," c-mount, and CCTV lenses that can be adapted, but I doubt the image quality and I don't want to waste a lot of my camera's sensor area with a lens that has too small an image circle. Are there good lenses of this type that fill most of an MFT frame?

Thanks for any advice.


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Feb 20, 2013
I've tried a dozen 35mm format lenses with no problems on any of them. Why not just stick with what works? The Pentax 110 lenses will give you very small lenses but I don't really think the quality is there. If small size is what you're looking for there are other options too, but get, say, a Konica 40/1.8 and it's small plus really sharp. Some M39 lenses like the Industar 69 or the collapsible one are small, but not great quality.

Jon Li

Mu-43 Regular
Jan 15, 2014
Jakarta - Indonesia
I have a couple old Olympus Pen FT lenses from my younger days period , they perform well on my m43 cameras n not a mismatch looking combinations . I have 42mm/1.2 , 50~90mm/3.5 n 250mm/5 which I use on GX7 n EM-1 , focus peaking from these 2 cameras help immensely , the 42mm get most of the usage . Beside these , I just acquired a Fujinon TV C-mount 50mm/1.4 and still playing around with it , when I am not pressed with time .

Jon .

Deleted member 20897

Lets not forget that the native m43 lenses are superb as well, especially the fast prime lenses.


Mu-43 All-Pro
Mar 12, 2011
Hong Kong
Real Name
The Olympus Pen F/FT lenses are just the right size for the digital Pen/OM-D four-thirds sensor. Here's an iPhone snap of the 38/1.8 mounted on my E-P3, the flared hood makes it look even bigger than it is. I haven't done an exhaustive comparison between it and the native Olympus 45/1.8 yet but from the few side-by-side shots I did take my conclusion was that it is very very good. The 45/1.8 sets a high standard for sharpness that the 38/1.8 can't quite match, but it also produces a different rendering that some may find more appealing. You can find samples in the Olympus 38mm f/1.8 Pen FT showcase thread.

E-P3 with Pen 38/1.8 by Fin Azvandi, on Flickr


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2011
Roswell NM yes that Roswell!
Many old m42 lenses are smaller in size and are easy to adapt. I personally haven't tried any but I have heard they work well. The smallest lenses that can be fitted are c-mounts but they tend to have issues, especially at short focal lengths.

I can tell you that the NIkon Series E lenses adapt very well to m4/3. Being early plastic body lenses{early 80s} they are lighter than the metal body ones. They were also made to be fairly compact with the 50mm a pancake. The best lenses in the series{IMHO} are the 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8 and the best of the best is the 100mm f2.8. There is also a 35mm f2.5 and three zooms.


Mu-43 Regular
May 12, 2014
pentax 110 series lens are very sharp on m43. Their resolving power even shine and maintaining their sharpness even in smaller format such as Pentax Q. I have Pentax 110 18,24, and 50 lens and I converted all of them to C-mount (not m43) so I can also use on Pentax Q.I don't have issue with shooting at only f/2.8 since I mostly shoot at widest aperture to begin with.

Also, there are various small lens to be used on m43, excluding full-frame lens: half-frame, CCTV, cine (C-mount/non-C mount/USSR) , TV Zoom, and D-mount. Regarding quality: Cine (C/Russian/D mount) >=half-frame >= TV Zoom >= CCTV.

For best cine optics, check out Schneider, Angenieux Zoom lens, Kinoptik, Cooke, Zeiss, Yvar, Som Berthiot, Nikkor Cine, etc. One of the reason to use small lens are form factor, weight, faster aperture, and most of all: Owning a piece of photographic/cinematic history.

Also, pictures of my modified Pentax 110 lens.
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Mu-43 All-Pro
Sep 15, 2012
Grand Rapids, Mi
Real Name
Karl Blessing
Leica Thread Mount or Leica M mount lens tend to work well also since they're made for 35mm sensor coverage but the body of the lens itself tends to be smaller (and the adapter doesn't add much out of the body compared to SLR lens). Can also get certain russian lens pretty inexpensively, particularly if you're looking for a distinctive look, though comparing something like a Industar-61LD 55/2.8 to say my SMC Pentax-M 50/1.4, I still prefer my Pentax much more than the Industar despite the industar being smaller (though I do wish I had kept my CV 35/1.7 Ultron).

I also usually don't concern myself as much with 'wasting' the glass, especially with the cheaper lens, where the outer edge of the glass is not typically corrected as well as the center of the glass, as a result you're utilizing the sharper portion of the glass, compared to a smaller lens (ie: made for CCTV or small format systems). I'd be more concerned with weight or bulk rather than 'waste' of glass if the purpose is still being served. Wasted glass is one that's owned but not utilized.

Also is a perfect MFT always going to translate to a better picture? Seems like if that's a huge concern I'd look into lens that fit natively on the micro-4/3rd mount.


Mu-43 Veteran
Nov 6, 2012
Just got a Pen-F mount 40mm 1.4 yesterday...still evaluating performance but so far so good. It really is nice and small...looks kinda odd on the EM1 but just perfect on the EM5.
My copy seems nearly flawless. Need to figure out the strange aperture ring numerals opposite to the standard f-stop range. I guess Oly was trying to simply from F-stops for their original PEN-F customers.

So far i'm liking the Bokeh I can produce...at least while reviewing on the camera lcd...need to get these samples onto a pc.
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