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What's the role of adapted lenses in your kit?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by nickthetasmaniac, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    I ask this after finally deciding to purchase an SMC K50/f1.2 instead of the new mZD 45/f1.8.

    Prior to this, for me adapted lenses were interesting and cheap - and in a few cases I already had them from my film kit. But they were something additional - an extra for when I was bored... But this is the first legacy lens that I've bought instead of a comparable 'native' lens - comparable in the sense that the price I paid for a mint 50/f1.2 was almost exactly the same as what I would've paid for a brand new 45/f1.8, and all the modern conveniences that go with it.

    So for me, adapted lenses (and manual lenses) have gone from being novelty extras, to actually being my primary kit - if I was to travel the world today with a single bag of lenses, I'd take the 7-14/f4, Nokton 25mm and SMC 50/f1.2...

    So what role do adapted/manual lenses play in your photography?
    • Like Like x 4
  2. Seriously, just a bit of fun really, but serious fun.
  3. dayou14

    dayou14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2011
    I notice that your glass are incredibly fast. The Nokton 25mm is 0.95, and the SMC is 1.2. I guess that answers it. There isn't comparable native glass so fast. Not now, anyway.

    I understand the need for speed as when it gets dark or cloudy, F3.5 just can't cut it anymore. We buy legacy glass because it's fast. If not fast, then seriously fun, as in, you can get results you just can't with a native glass. If this above two is not true, then the only last reason is because it is really cheap. But legacy glass prices are trending up, so getting cheap deals are now harder and harder.

  4. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    Since I have just started with both mu4/3 and adapted lenses, the role is yet to be fully defined, but as far as adapted lenses go, the following are what got me into it:

    1. Possibility of fast lenses for available light, esp. Night photos, that I can actually afford

    2. I like the different, particular, "film-ey" look some of these photos have,in comparison with the technically "superior" native lens photos, ie. For "personality" and artistic reasons.

    3. I am really entranced by some of the lenses themselves, from a techno-dweeb and historical standpoint, especially the FSU lenses whuch, though they sometimes have QC issues are nonetheless technologically amazing

    Number 1 on this list is a corollary to what got me to mu4/3 to begin with, namely that this December I will be on an Arctic Winter cruise in Norway and wanted to be able to get some nice photos during two weeks of nearly constant twilight and darkness.

    Number 2 is a corollary to the old "Lawrence Welk Orchestra" phenomenon, wherein music can be played in a technically perfect manner, but lack personality and artistic merit.

    Number 3 is just a reminder that I am a Gadget-Head


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
    • Like Like x 3
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    well said avidone.... I agree with you completely.

    I actually started using legacy lenses with my 4/3 E-510, then with my E-p1.

    My decision to buy a Canon 5D over a Nikon was also influenced by the fact that most of my lenses could be used there as well

    here are a collection of my legacy lens shots

    Legacy lenses - a set on Flickr


  6. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Good point - I think this has had a lot to do with it for me.
  7. Alf

    Alf Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 23, 2010
    Northeastern Tuscany
    1. i like to play. A lot.
    2. sometimes they are useful - as in pre-focusing for moving subjects (did a lot of that with the 40/1.8 Hexanon from a minibus) or just for the drawing qualities of old lenses.
  8. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I use manual lenses extensively now, much more than I ever thought I would.
    Only native lens I currently have now is the 17mm and I've only kept that for if I haven't time to manual focus.
    If I'm out with the camera then its legacy glass all the way at the moment, I'm not ruling out adding new lenses again (probably the 45mm) but for now I'm delighted with the results I'm getting from my Canon fd 50 f1.8 and fd 24 f2.8, I'd even go as far as to say that both lenses are sharper than the Panny 20mm (albeit not as fast)

    Looking to add some more legacy glass, possibly a Hexanon 40 or 57 and I'd like to try the faster f1.4 Canon 50 as I've seen some crackers taken with it!

    I should maybe also take a look at OM glass, a colleague I work with mentioned that the "old" OM lenses were lovely and they certainly seem to be in abundant supply!

    Really upgraded to the EP2 with the VF2 because I knew the viewfinder would help with manual focus and while I'm still getting use to it it hasn't disappointed yet!

    All in all I've found I'm enjoying my photography much more with the £150 worth of legacy glass I have at the moment much more than with the £1000 worth of Pentax lenses I had on my last DSLR, theres just something nice about the feel of a legacy lens, the feeling that you've had more to do with focusing the lens and the result than simply pressing the shutter and having the camera focus for you!
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    For me, my mij Zuiko 50/1.8 fills a gap while I'm waiting for the new 45/1.8 to appear in the shops. I quite like it though.

    For a really different look (and avoiding Lawrence Welk-ness) I'd go for something like a Leica Summitar or even an uncoated Elmar (or FED/Zorki copy). That would be a radical departure from modern lenses and great for people work. The Zuiko is a little too good for people as old as my friends :biggrin:
  10. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    For me it is fast lenses for internal shooting as well as long lenses and macro lenses for nature photography. As I can get native lenses to meet the same uses I will likely phase out my adapted lenses.
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The lack of autofocus limits my venture into legacy glass. I do have a Micro-Nikkor where the AF deficiency isn't a hinderance. I have a couple of cheap zooms which I plan to give away on this forum and a Nikkor 500 mirror just for fun.

  12. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    I have had AF lenses but now only have the old legacy now.

    I too, like the smoother look of Pics by older lenses.
    I like the old metal and glass, made to last a lifetime, quality and machined function, feel and look of legacy lenses.
    I like fast glass.
    I don't like big zoom lenses, Though I have one very large one that is very good.
    And, yes very good AF lenses cost a lot more.

    All that being said, I still need/want a fast, prime, AF portrait lens. It just isn't in the budget yet. Meanwhile my old glass on mu4/3 gets the job done with style and quality.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    For me, it's a combination of the reasons some have already mentioned:

    (1) They fill a need/desire much more cheaply than a native lens. I'd love the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 but I can't afford it, so I'll have to make do with a fast (< f/1.4) C-mount lens. Same goes with the new 45mm f/1.8--until I can afford it I'll be using my $0.01 Yashica ML 50mm f/2, even though it doesn't AF.

    (2) They're just a lot of fun. I've got an old cine lens that produces wonderful swirly bokeh unlike anything available in a native-mount lens. It's not for everyday shooting, of course, but for certain images it's the cat's meow.

    (3) Many adapted lenses can be bought relatively cheaply and tend to hold their value well, which allows me to experiment with them. I've gone through probably 10 different adapted lenses and I've basically broken even in buying/selling, even counting shipping and commission costs.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. tigertiger

    tigertiger Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 30, 2011
    They are my primary kit for now, mostly because I can't afford any of the native lenses.

    And while I do miss auto-focus, I fear I'm becoming spoiled by the build quality and dedicated aperture rings!
  15. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    With a long background of Leica-M shooting, even for sports, I never got totally confident in AF, even with the fastest AF-Nikkor lenses on Nikon fastest bodies.

    My long lenses are legacy, mostly "portrait" lenses:
    Voigtländer 50/3.5, 50/1.5 and 85/3.5, Zuiko 60/1.5 and 100/3.5, Nikkor-T 105/4 and Leica 135/4. Depending on my needs (or mood...) I systematically carry two of them: usually 50 + 100/105, or 60 + 135.

    All are small and well-balanced, all show very good to outstanding performance.

    Since I got an (E)VF-2, I never missed their lack of autofocus. My two original Panasonic zooms (14-45 and 45-200) are really excellent, but went to sleep mode in a drawer.

    For macro and copy (slide reproductions) work, a Pen-F bellows with a Topcor 65/3.5 fulfill my needs more than adequately.

    However I do miss the adapters don't automatically set the proper focal length for camera stabilization and data files, and work on "chipping" some.

    I considered an AF 45mm, whether Panasonic or Olympus, but I'm not sure it will be much help : too short for portraits and macro, for my taste. A 60 to 90, f/1.8 or faster, with a snappy AF, that would be more tempting.

    Of course, the "crop factor" forces me to rely on native lenses for short lenses, these being the Panny 20 and 7-14.
    An adapted Peleng 8mm gets a bit for use, for stitched VR's, but it's bulky on a :43: camera. It may get replaced by Samyang 7.5mm if the latter proves optically competent and not just cutely compact.

    The Zuiko 12/2 is quite tempting. I played with one for a couple days before sending it back for refund due to a factory default: the MF scale was totally off... and MF was the main way I used it.

    And all this me makes me consider very much Sony's Nex 7... If it's as good as promising to, the full-frame SLR could go--but not its manual focusing lenses!
  16. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    I use adapted lenses to achieve very shallow depth of focus images. For this, I primarily shoot the Zeiss Planar T* 50mm/1.4 and 85mm/1.4 lenses. The 170mm (equivalent) f/1.4 capability is especially nice for shallow DOF and bokeh on m4/3.

    For pretty much everything else, I much prefer the speed and convenience of native, auto-focus lenses. For portrait, I'm really excited to check out the new Zuiko 45/1.8.
  17. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    • Like Like x 1
  18. ivoire

    ivoire Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2011
    Naperville, IL
    Variety, change of view, slow down and plan the shot. But for those spur of the moment opportunities, autofocus is appreciated
  19. dpj

    dpj Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 20, 2011
    I like the manufacture of older lenses, they were built to last. I like the look of the image from an older lens too, the coatings from on older lenses give a real "Look" to them that you don't get from modern lenses. I also like the fact they make you think about the image, instead of just hit and run, you have to compose your pictures, get the focusing spot on etc. It makes taking pictures a more organic experience.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Jimboh

    Jimboh Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    Why adapted

    If I'm touring a theme park, I'll stick to the native lenses, but for "pure photography" where I have no pressure and can take my time to study the scene before deciding how to capture it, I'll take my legacy glass and leave the native lenses in the bag.

    I like the bokeh of wide aperture such as Nikkor 35mm f/2 (current favorite), and the sharpness of the Canon 85 f/1.8.

    I've got Canon FD 400mm f4.5 for nature, there's nothing on par to this lens in native.

    They serve as pretty economical choices for those boutique needs quite well too.
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