On Adapters for legacy lenses

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gary payne
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On Adapters for legacy lenses
4 months ago

A couple of years ago I began buying legacy lenses for my Pana and Oly bodies.  There are so many great pieces of older glass out there and it's fun to explore some classics at bargain prices.

The adapters seemed merely like glorified spacers to me at first and many have had good luck with the cheapest around so I bought several of the cheapest to leave on each lens so they'd be ready to twist on at a moment's notice.  But I always wondered whether the cheapies (or even the more expensive ones) were properly designed for the job.  After all, it wouldn't take much to skew a lens to one side or the other if the machining wasn't done perfectly or if they was flex in the fit.  And I assume a tight fit would not necessarily mean it's properly lined up either.

I have a sweet Nikkor 400mm f5.6 AIS  ED IF manual  focus lens I am using on my EM1, my favorite legacy lens so far.  It can deliver terrific images far sharper, better colored (subjective, yes) and with a dreamy background blur compared to my 100-300 Pana Zoom.  And it's not unwieldy or particularly heavy.  But it is long.

I tried two adapters, a real cheapy and later a Kippon, but the lens would both rotate slightly and even wobble a tad.  I felt I could see the difference looking through the lens at this shifting and I think it wrecked some of my images although I cannot be sure.  I began to suspect that the problem might be with my lens instead of the adapter.

Finally I paid $170 for a new Voigtlander Nikkor-M4/3 adapter.  I had buyer's remorse immediately after that purchase until the adapter arrived and was installed.  But geez, what a difference.  The set up now seems like it's one piece.  No slop whatsoever, no rotation whatsoever, and unlike several of my other adapters, I didn't have to use force at all to attach it or remove it.  It seems to focus better (yes, maybe my imagination) but I now wonder if it's really possible to judge any legacy lens with a cheap adapter.

I'm sure some of the cheapies work just fine, but that could be a matter of random luck.  I think now that if we are spending over $300 for a great lens, a really good adapter might be justified from the start.   Any thoughts?  gp

Olympus E-M1
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