I've caught the MF bug

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
bvphotos
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I've caught the MF bug
9 months ago

I started with 2 M42 mount MF lenses: a Mamiya Sekor 55/1.8 & Vivitar 135/2.8. I've just bought a Helios 58/2 lens that hasn't arrived yet. All 3 cost me less than $100. I've been reading up on MF lenses and there are so many of them that my head is spinning. I have a few criteria: (a) I don't want to spend too much, (b) I don't want to have too many mounts, (c) I want small & light lenses, (d) good IQ if great IQ cannot be had in my price range. I hope I'm not asking for too much. Specifically, to augment what I have, I want to next look at the following kinds of lenses:

1. 24mm and wider: Here are the choices I have on my (long) list: FD 24/2.8, Yashica 24/2.8, nikkor AI/non-AI 24/2.8, Tokina RMC 17mm FD mount, Rokinon 14mm.

2. Something in the 85-105 range: FD 85/1.8, Kiron 105/2.8, Nikkor (AI) 105/2.5, Nikkor AIS 85/2, Oly Zuiko OM 100/2.8.

3. A standard zoom: FD 35-70/2.8, Vivitar 28-90/2.8-3.5, Contax Vario Sonnar 35-70/3.4 (not cheap, though).

4. A possible replacement for the Vivitar 135: Hexanon AR 135/3.2, SMC Tak 135/2.5, FD 135/2.5.

Any comments on these choices? Cheaper, but equally good, alternatives?

Thanks.

(PS: I'll also be using these MF lenses on a Fujifilm X-E1, which is also on its way.)

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Canon 6D, Canon 50D, Canon 100 f2, Canon 100-400 IS, Canon 50 1.4, Canon 24-105mm IS, Canon 70-200mm f4 IS, Mamiya Sekor 55mm 1.8, Vivitar 135mm 2.8, Tamron Pro 1.4TC, Speedlite 430EX, Feisol 3402 + Giotto ballhead.

Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm X-E1
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richiemccaw
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

I was about to say its very challenging MF-ing without liveview on my 5D when I realized you have a 6D.

I prefer to use wide angle legacy lenses as they generally are for landscape where I wouldn't feel pressured into using AF.

Personally I have been playing around with the Olympus OM 28mm f2.8 to mixed results. Mainly because Im still learning how to meter and expose properly. It's probably going to be a lot easier on your Fuji, just like how it's a breeze on my Nex.

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Dave Chilvers
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to richiemccaw, 9 months ago

apart from many MF lenses two of the focal ranges you mention that I own:

Contax 37-70 T* MM (superb and like shooting primes)

Contax 100mm f3.5 T* MM ( a bit slow but easy enough to focus with Live View, truly superb IQ and I have two of them just in case I drop one:-)

Leica 50 f2 Sumicron (superb)

and if you can find a used Voigtlander 40mm f2 ultron mk2 you love the small size and corners.

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bvphotos
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to Dave Chilvers, 9 months ago

Dave Chilvers wrote:

apart from many MF lenses two of the focal ranges you mention that I own:

Contax 37-70 T* MM (superb and like shooting primes)

Do you mean 35-70mm Vario-Sonnar MMJ lens?

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Dave Chilvers
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

bvphotos wrote:

Dave Chilvers wrote:

apart from many MF lenses two of the focal ranges you mention that I own:

Contax 37-70 T* MM (superb and like shooting primes)

Do you mean 35-70mm Vario-Sonnar MMJ lens?

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Not sure about the  J  but it is the f 3.4 vario-sonnar

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brightcolours
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Best skip the FD lenses from your list
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

bvphotos wrote:

I started with 2 M42 mount MF lenses: a Mamiya Sekor 55/1.8 & Vivitar 135/2.8. I've just bought a Helios 58/2 lens that hasn't arrived yet. All 3 cost me less than $100. I've been reading up on MF lenses and there are so many of them that my head is spinning. I have a few criteria: (a) I don't want to spend too much, (b) I don't want to have too many mounts, (c) I want small & light lenses, (d) good IQ if great IQ cannot be had in my price range. I hope I'm not asking for too much. Specifically, to augment what I have, I want to next look at the following kinds of lenses:

1. 24mm and wider: Here are the choices I have on my (long) list: FD 24/2.8, Yashica 24/2.8, nikkor AI/non-AI 24/2.8, Tokina RMC 17mm FD mount, Rokinon 14mm.

The FD mount lenses are not a good idea. Unless you want to use them for macro

The FD mount simply is closer to the sensor/film than EOS mount, so no adapter will fit in-between. Some lenses you can convert, but conversion costs and the lenses you mention are no candidates.

Look at the other mount Tokina 17mm's instead, or the Tamron adaptall 17mm. Other options are Nikkor 24mm f2.8/2, Nikkor 18mm f4/3.5, Voigtländer 20mm f3.5 SL II (N).

2. Something in the 85-105 range: FD 85/1.8, Kiron 105/2.8, Nikkor (AI) 105/2.5, Nikkor AIS 85/2, Oly Zuiko OM 100/2.8.

The Nikkor 85mm f2 Ai/Ai-S is not a very good lens. Rather look at the older Nikkor-H 85mm f1.8 or the better coated Nikkor-H*C 85mm f1.8 (pre-AI), which both are much better (optically). Again, the FD is not a good idea. The Samyang/Rokinon 85mm f1.4 is also a nice lens, as is the Nikkor 85mm f1.4 (but the latter probably has pretty steep used prices).

3. A standard zoom: FD 35-70/2.8, Vivitar 28-90/2.8-3.5, Contax Vario Sonnar 35-70/3.4 (not cheap, though).

Again... No FD.

4. A possible replacement for the Vivitar 135: Hexanon AR 135/3.2, SMC Tak 135/2.5, FD 135/2.5.

Broken record.... FD not a good idea. A VERY sharp (with nice bokeh) lens is the Nikkor-Q 135mm f3.5 in its various guises. The early metal/black Q version is already very good, the later "K", Ai/Ai-S versions have better coatings. The Nikkor 135mm f2.8 (various versions, 2 optical formulas) and 135mm f2 are also to rather affordable. The lightest of the Nikkors are the 135mm f3.5 and the Ai-S version of the 135mm f2.8.

Any comments on these choices? Cheaper, but equally good, alternatives?

Yeah, skip the FDs

Thanks.

(PS: I'll also be using these MF lenses on a Fujifilm X-E1, which is also on its way.)

The FDs will work on the Fuji. Just not a good idea concerning your 50D and even more so the 6D.

The manual focus lenses I have in my collection:

  • Voigtländer 20mm f3.5 SL II N. Lovely little pancake wide angle.
  • Nikkor 35mm f2.8. Soft lens. Not recommended.
  • Nikkor-S 50mm f2. Very sharp little lens, does not play nice with focus confirmation.
  • Micro-Nikkor 55mm f3.5. Great macro lens.
  • Nikkor-S•C 55mm f1.2. Nice lens with "interesting" bokeh.
  • Canon FL 55mm f1.2. Nice lens with "interesting" bokeh, with worse coatings. Expensive conversion. Hits 6D mirror at midrange to infinity (so live view needed at such shots).
  • Nikkor-H 85mm f1.8. Lovely lens with smooth bokeh. The H•C version "radiates" less wide open.
  • Nikkor-Q 135mm f3.5. Sharp lens which renders beautifully.
  • Nikkor 135mm f2.8 ("K"-version). Have not used it yet. Heavy at 600 grams.
  • Old Delft Delfinor 140mm f1.8. Old film projection lens, made an adapter for it. Lots of aberrations, but super smooth bokeh. Interesting and weird.
  • Tamron SP 500mm f8 (mirror lens, 1st version (the one with the tripod mount)). Surprisingly sharp/contrasty for a mirror lens, handholdable with the 6D due to its god high ISO performance. Interesting lens due to its extreme compactness and low weight.

The NO focussing lenses I have (industrial fixed focus lenses):

  • Ultra-Micro-Nikkor 55mm f2. Lovely rendering lens. Made a custom adapter for it with also allows for trap focus, with gives it about 1:3 macro.
  • Ultra-Micro-Nikkor 28mm f1.8. Have compiled a setup for it with reversal ring, step down ring and bellows for extreme macro stuff, but have not used it yet.
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bvphotos
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Re: Best skip the FD lenses from your list
In reply to brightcolours, 9 months ago

Thank you for bringing the issue of FD lenses with the 6D to my attention. I'm glad you chimed in before I started buying them. I'll focus on the alternatives now. The Rokkors, many of which are also rated very highly, also don't work with EOS cameras.

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macky patalinghug
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

After collecting manual lenses from junk shops and repair shops for three years now I noticed that my AI/AIS lenses outnumber my EF/EF-S lenses though I currently don't have a Nikon camera. I also have about 10 screw type lenses (mostly Takumars).

My latest acquisition is a far from mint 75-150 series e zoom. I prefer primes but after reading some positive reviews I tried this one. And I am happy with it. Here are some snaps with the lens on my 6D.

With a couple of few exemptions, old manual Nikkors pair well with modern EOS. This should come as no surprise as the first Canon camera had a Nikon (Nippon Kugako) lens on it when Nikon still had to produce a camera.

slowshotmax

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Erik Magnuson
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

bvphotos wrote:

1. 24mm and wider: Here are the choices I have on my (long) list: FD 24/2.8, Yashica 24/2.8, nikkor AI/non-AI 24/2.8, Tokina RMC 17mm FD mount, Rokinon 14mm.

In addition to the FD issue, you have to be careful with Nikkor and Olympus wider angles and your 6D.  Some of these lenses have metal protrusions that interfere with mounting or mirror clearance.

3. A standard zoom: ... Vivitar 28-90/2.8-3.5

The Vivitar has a lot of vignetting on FF.

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JackM
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But why?
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

You don't really say.  You seem to be looking for lenses to cover mutually exclusive purposes.  Using manual focus lenses on a FF SLR is best for landscape or static subjects.  If you want legacy mf lenses for your XE-1, it would be best to go for rangefinder type lenses which will be smaller and lighter and will mount elegantly with a slim adapter.  This will be better for street photography and anywhere that discretion and portability is important.  Mounting SLR lenses on your XE-1 will require a big clunky adapter that also makes up for the much longer flange distance.

So I guess I would advise you to pick one set of uses and concentrate on buying great lenses for that first.  Fuji makes bold claims about its sensors surpassing FF.  They're great, but it simply isn't true, I have both.  So if you crave maximum IQ at 100% view, forget about the XE-1 when buying MF lenses.  On the other hand, if you crave discretion and portability, then concentrate on rangefinder lenses for the XE-1 and forget about the 6D.

Enjoy that aspect of photography for a while and save up for the other.  Or if money is no object, then heck, do whatever you want.

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brightcolours
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That last bit makes no sense
In reply to macky patalinghug, 9 months ago

macky patalinghug wrote:

After collecting manual lenses from junk shops and repair shops for three years now I noticed that my AI/AIS lenses outnumber my EF/EF-S lenses though I currently don't have a Nikon camera. I also have about 10 screw type lenses (mostly Takumars).

My latest acquisition is a far from mint 75-150 series e zoom. I prefer primes but after reading some positive reviews I tried this one. And I am happy with it. Here are some snaps with the lens on my 6D.

With a couple of few exemptions, old manual Nikkors pair well with modern EOS. This should come as no surprise as the first Canon camera had a Nikon (Nippon Kugako) lens on it when Nikon still had to produce a camera.

This last bit makes no sense in any way, just very contrived. Nice results though

slowshotmax

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bvphotos
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to macky patalinghug, 9 months ago

Whoa! This lens wasn't on my radar. But the pics are excellent. And the lens is cheap. I'm certainly putting it high on my list. Thanks for the suggestion.

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brightcolours
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to Erik Magnuson, 9 months ago

Erik Magnuson wrote:

bvphotos wrote:

1. 24mm and wider: Here are the choices I have on my (long) list: FD 24/2.8, Yashica 24/2.8, nikkor AI/non-AI 24/2.8, Tokina RMC 17mm FD mount, Rokinon 14mm.

In addition to the FD issue, you have to be careful with Nikkor and Olympus wider angles and your 6D. Some of these lenses have metal protrusions that interfere with mounting or mirror clearance.

With Nikkor? Only some fisheyes have that, and they protrude in such a huge extent that one can't make a mistake!

10mm fisheye

8mm fisheye

6mm fisheye

All normal Nikkor wide angles will work without problems.

Pentax K/A mount lenses will need (destructive) modification.

3. A standard zoom: ... Vivitar 28-90/2.8-3.5

The Vivitar has a lot of vignetting on FF.

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bvphotos
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Re: But why?
In reply to JackM, 9 months ago

JackM wrote:

You don't really say. You seem to be looking for lenses to cover mutually exclusive purposes. Using manual focus lenses on a FF SLR is best for landscape or static subjects. If you want legacy mf lenses for your XE-1, it would be best to go for rangefinder type lenses which will be smaller and lighter and will mount elegantly with a slim adapter. This will be better for street photography and anywhere that discretion and portability is important. Mounting SLR lenses on your XE-1 will require a big clunky adapter that also makes up for the much longer flange distance.

So I guess I would advise you to pick one set of uses and concentrate on buying great lenses for that first. Fuji makes bold claims about its sensors surpassing FF. They're great, but it simply isn't true, I have both. So if you crave maximum IQ at 100% view, forget about the XE-1 when buying MF lenses. On the other hand, if you crave discretion and portability, then concentrate on rangefinder lenses for the XE-1 and forget about the 6D.

Enjoy that aspect of photography for a while and save up for the other. Or if money is no object, then heck, do whatever you want.

You've intuited my reasons quite well. It's mostly for my Fuji X camera. But I'd like to use the MF lenses on my Canon as well, particularly in situations when I don't want to lug around my heavier lenses (even the 24-105mm lens can get tiring after a while).

I have not looked at rangefinder lenses carefully, but my understanding is that they're expensive.

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Erik Magnuson
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to brightcolours, 9 months ago

brightcolours wrote:

All normal Nikkor wide angles will work without problems.

Have you tried them all?  Tell me what happened when you mounted the 20mm f/4.

See that black tab at the bottom?

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panoviews
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to Erik Magnuson, 9 months ago

Got also caught with this bug. I got the Arsat Tilt Adapter for Pentacon-Six lenses and two old Zeiss Jena lenses (Flektogon 50mm/f4 + Biometar 80mm/f2.8).

http://araxfoto.com/accessories/tilt/

http://www.pentaconsix.com/lenstest.htm

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JackM
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Re: But why?
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

bvphotos wrote:

You've intuited my reasons quite well. It's mostly for my Fuji X camera. But I'd like to use the MF lenses on my Canon as well, particularly in situations when I don't want to lug around my heavier lenses (even the 24-105mm lens can get tiring after a while).

I have not looked at rangefinder lenses carefully, but my understanding is that they're expensive.

Then I would say forget about mf lenses for the 6D for now. Getting lenses to use on both will turn your XE-1 into a big clunky camera, and that's not why you bought it. You certainly didn't buy it for better IQ than your 6D.

I went through this phase briefly when I inherited an extra Pentax SMC-M 50mm f/1.4. I modified it for use on my 5D2. Great lens, at least as sharp as my 24-70L. After one evening of street shooting, I was all set with that.

FF EOS cameras are big, clunky, heavy, soul-stealing nerd cameras. Not even a body cap lens could make them discrete or portable, so I don't see the point of using legacy lenses on them unless you have a specific lens in mind with specific qualities. Like I recently got a Helios 44-2 for its renowned swirly bokeh.

For reasonably priced RF lenses I would say look to Voigtlander, Konica Hexanon, Ricoh, Canon, Nikon. There are probably others. Hmm, here's an interesting article:

http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2013/10/jch-top-10-m-mount-lenses/

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brightcolours
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Re: I've caught the MF bug
In reply to Erik Magnuson, 9 months ago

Erik Magnuson wrote:

brightcolours wrote:

All normal Nikkor wide angles will work without problems.

Have you tried them all? Tell me what happened when you mounted the 20mm f/4.

See that black tab at the bottom?

Yes, I see that black tab at the bottom. Tell me, have you had it catch the mirror?

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JackM
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Re: But why?
In reply to bvphotos, 9 months ago

bvphotos wrote:

But I'd like to use the MF lenses on my Canon as well, particularly in situations when I don't want to lug around my heavier lenses (even the 24-105mm lens can get tiring after a while).

And when you want to do that, just get a Canon 50/1.4 and a 28/1.8 and be happy. Or a 35/2 and a 85/1.8 or 100/2. These are great lenses within their limits. They're not sexy, but neither is your 6D.

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brightcolours
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Re: But why?
In reply to JackM, 9 months ago

JackM wrote:

bvphotos wrote:

But I'd like to use the MF lenses on my Canon as well, particularly in situations when I don't want to lug around my heavier lenses (even the 24-105mm lens can get tiring after a while).

And when you want to do that, just get a Canon 50/1.4 and a 28/1.8

I don't think the EF 28mm f1.8 USM is great. I don't know a whole lot lenses that I find to render less attractive, to be honest. Both contrast and bokeh are lacking. An EF 28mm f2.8 is a better idea then.

and be happy. Or a 35/2 and a 85/1.8 or 100/2. These are great lenses within their limits. They're not sexy, but neither is your 6D.

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