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Which lens have better optics, Canon FD, Minolta MD, Olympus OM?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by bball12, May 15, 2012.

  1. bball12

    bball12 New to Mu-43

    May 15, 2012

    I currently use m42 line of lens on my m 4/3 with an adapter. I want add another line. But I cannot decide which lens series should I use.

    Thank You
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    There's no single answer for that - very much depends on the lens. Oly's OM glass is fairly easily found for not too crazy prices for good quality stuff. Canon is often slightly pricier, and I see less second hand Minolta kicking around on a budget.

    What exactly are you looking for? Any specific look? My 'adapted glass' selection is currently Leica R, Contax/Zeiss and some Pentax glass that I haven't had the chance to try out yet. The Zeiss remains a firm favorite (50/1.4 and 35/2.8) on full frame. Still waiting for the adapters for the m43 cam...
  3. Zanr Zij

    Zanr Zij Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2012
    I love my Contax/Zeiss and Nikon AIS. What are U looking for on a adapted lens?

    Sent from my GT-N7000 using Mu-43 App through GH2, E-P3!
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    The answer is that no line (except maybe Leica) is the best for every lens. Each line has some excellent lenses, some good lenses, and some mediocre lenses.
  5. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Well I would have said Pentax-K (especially the 'K', 'M' and 'A' lines)
  6. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    I've used a lot of adapted lenses over the years, and it certainly depends on the lens in question. Olympus is outstanding on the wider end, with their 21, 24 and 28mm lenses being both compact and extremely good. They also have some amazing 85mm/100mm lenses. Canon FD have some extremely good longer glass, and their normal - short telephoto lenses can be very good as well, though the wide end isn't quite as good as Oly. Minolta MD(MC) is the bargain nowadays, and there are some real gems in the lineup...the 135/2.8 is brilliant (all versions), and their normal primes have a really unique look (though my FD 50/1.4 is better overall than my MC 50/1.4). Konica Hexanon is another thing to look at....they're overlooked, but Konica made a lot of really wonderful lenses. My 57/1.2 is fantastic (and built like a an absolute tank).

    The FD L lenses are some of the best older lenses for correcting chromatic aberration and purple fringing, which can be a problem with older lenses with wider apertures.

    For instance, my FD 200mm f/2.8 is very sharp, but suffers from pretty extreme PF in really high contrast situations (though this is far less problematic since the introduction of Adobe's new fringing removal) However, my 50-300mm f/4.5L has very minimal longitudinal CA and zero PF. And it's sharp throughout the range on m43, which is impressive for an 80s era zoom of this wide range. (though it weighs a ton).

    As mentioned above, the Pentax K line is really good, and even some of the older M42 mount Pentax lenses are really solid optics.
  7. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    As already said, difficult to answer as every line has good and bad examples. The discussion really makes more sense when comparing particular examples of lenses and with a stated purpose.

    With that said, I like the M42 SMC Pentax/Takumars for the value vs performance and size. Zooms from the 80s and earlier were really new back then and not all that impressive.. or perhaps I just haven't found one I liked.

    PS> If you go with a screwmount style adaptation, I general recommend buy a few adapters and leave them attached to the lenses currently in use. Removal from the micro 4/3 bayonet rather than the screw side is so much easier and faster.
  8. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Purely from an ergonomic point of view, OM lenses trump the other brands, because they are the smallest and will about fit a pen without exceeding the size and diameter of the kit zoom for the usual focal length.

    From an IQ standpoint, OM lenses are sharp, contrasted (some people find them a bit too much contrasted for their taste), with minimal distortion. There's no pro / amateur series, but in fact there are 3 lineup you can build based on aperture. The best lenses are f/2 (think of it as kind of the Canon L serie), the intermediary (or "expert") serie is f/2.8 constant, and the amateur range is the realm of f/3.5 primes and sliding aperture zoom.

    OM lenses have a great "family" spirit. The color rendering of the various primes is very close, unlike Canon and Nikon glass that have more "variety" which can be a problem when you want to mix quickly a bunch of pictures taken at different focal length.


    • Like Like x 1
  9. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    I'm biased by mostly having OM lenses, but from my experiences, they tend to be tiny, are built very well, and with fairly impressive IQ. They don't seem to be found cheap though..
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I agree with Mauve, that OM lenses have quite an advantage in form and build. Not only are they made significantly more compact on average, but they all have wonderfully smooth raised rubber focus and zoom rings which are a dream to use. Every one I've tried, anyways. They also have a habit of keeping the aperture ring on the nose as opposed to the base of the lens (mostly with primes, but there are exceptions), more akin to rangefinder lenses than other SLR lenses. I'm sure this is due to the unique shutter speed ring found on OM mount cameras. I find this to be an advantage, as my aperture never gets knocked out of place while mounting and dismounting lenses, which often happens to me with the aperture ring on the base of the lens. I also find this with my rangefinder lenses which use the same setup.

    But probably the thing I love best about OM lenses, is their richness of color. That's another consistent factor I've found with all OM lenses, is they're all satisfyingly rich. Sometimes a little too warm, but always rich.

    And I think Mauve hit the nail on the head with the "Family" comment. The key in owning Zuiko lenses is consistency. You always know what to expect with a Zuiko.

    There is one other unique advantage to OM lenses, but this only applies to a very select few like myself who use multiple adapters. I come from a Four-Thirds background, which before Micro Four-Thirds was THE format for adapting legacy lenses, as it was the shortest of all SLR mounts. All my SLR lenses are either Four-Thirds or adapted to Four-Thirds, which also allows me the use of the same Four-Thirds accessory lenses such as teleconverters and extension tubes on all of them.
    The unique advantage of OM lenses when mounted with multiple adapters, is that the lens releases from the lens rather than the mount (probably due to the unique shutter speed ring?). What this means is that if you have multiple OM lenses it makes it easier to swap between them on the same adapter. It's easy to remember that to release the adapter you use the body's release. To release the lens you use the lens' release. Or maybe it's just me who gets easily confused, but with other lenses I sometimes get all the release buttons confused and forget which one to use. Those of you who go directly from your legacy mount to Micro mount won't know what I'm talking about. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Why do you want to add another line? Are you looking for something that is not available to you in M42? Unless there is a limitation of your current system that you are trying to address, adding another adapter and set of lenses just seems like so much GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

    If you can identify what is limiting you, then you're more likely to get useful advice here.
  12. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2012
    I'm a bit biased towards OM lenses however the Canon FD 50mm f1.4 I find nicer than the OM equivalent. OM's tend to cost more here in the UK than Canon FD's.
    If I were starting from scratch I'd be tempted by the Pentax primes.
  13. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    I use Leica, Nikon, and OM lenses and they all have their own characteristics, but the placement of the aperture ring on the OM lenses make them the easiest and most enjoyable to use.
  14. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    I have lenses from all three lines, and they all have their own advantages and faults. I got them all before used m43, so using them on m43 is usually a question of 'what combo of focal length, aperture or other characteristic do I need?' when I'm trying to figure out what to use.

    I do find the OM lenses tend to be the smallest, but the lightest is typically the late MD's - more plastic. The FD's are consistently the heaviest and largest. Unless I get a fantastic deal on a wide prime, I typically don't bother with them, as my 14/2.5 and 20/1.7 will blow the doors of any legacy prime.

    What it comes down to for me, is that they're cheap, the adapters are cheap, and your choice for useful focal lengths on m43 is limited, so I wouldn't limit myself to any particular line, just get what you need or is available.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    When it comes to legacy glass, what was important to me (and continues to be, although ever-so-slightly less-so) is great portrait glass.... which would be lenses like the 85mm f/1.4 (I have the glorious Zeiss Planar in this case) and 135mm f/2.8 (I have the Canon FD version of this).

    There still are no native m4/3 lenses which can do what these lenses do. :frown: And for some professional portrait shooters, like myself, the look provided by such lenses is job 1.

    As for shorter fast glass, m4/3 natives are getting there. The 45/1.8 is a nice native portrait lens, though incapable of achieving the look I regularly achieve with 200mm f/2.8 Canon L glass on full frame sensor 5DMkII.

    I like to be able to shoot a portrait client outdoors, include at least 1/2 their body in an environmental portrait which includes at least 1/2 frame of the outdoors environment besides the subject, and have the background be a gorgeous mushy blur of outdoor bokeh. To do this with a sensor found in m4/3 bodies requires a lens at least as long and as fast as the 85mm f/1.4. 100mm f/2 would pretty much do it as well.

    Yes, when it comes to outdoor portraiture, I'm spoiled by 200mm f/2.8 L glass on a full frame sensor. Though I am confident that m4/3 will be able to get close to that quality, over time, with new native lenses and improved sensors. I'm the meantime, legacy glass like 85/1.4 and 100/2 glass helps achieve the "look", even though they lack the often needed (sometimes essential) benefits of auto focus.

    When we get lenses like a native 85+mm f/1.8 lens for m4/3, then m4/3 will really come into its own with some of us pro portrait shooters and some of our cherished legacy lenses will become less necessary.

    For any m4/3 shooter who wants to really create some stunning environmental portraits, I highly recommend spending some time finding and some money buying glass... Like the 85/1.4 or 100/2.0. And then get out in a field or forest or desert or wherever and go to work with your subject and such a lens WIDE OPEN.... shoot RAW capture, then spend some time in post perfecting your images... I promise, you can make magic with this receipe! :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  16. bball12

    bball12 New to Mu-43

    May 15, 2012
    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you for your advice and insight, I have learned a lot and have in particular been drawn to om lenses.

    Thanks Again
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