Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

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Tom Caldwell
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Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
7 months ago

Subtitled "What is a focal reducer?"

It seems that most members of this forum are using M4/3 oem AF lenses. They will perform well, are matched to the camera mount and are straight forward in use. No problem.

But MF can be fun and Panasonic has tossed in a reasonable focus peaking system in the GM1 at least and not being "into" Olympus I presume that there is one in current use there as well.

Focus peaking just increases the fun of using MF lenses. But it is not for everyone.

I would like to get some feedback from those who use MF lenses, what types, and what adapters and techniques they use. Also if they are using any of the new Focal reducer adapters that are appearing on the market for M4/3 mount.

These adapters change the normal crop factor effectively from 2.0x to 1.4x they also give one full stop of extra light for the lens. For example a f2.8 lens will act like a f2.0 as far as light to the sensor is concerned.

I am using the RJ M42-M4/3 adapter and I have accumulated a good number of MF lenses that I now share between the Ricoh GXR-M LM mount, the Sony NEX6 E mount and still occasionally use on the Samsung NX10 NX mount. I can now use many of these lenses also on the GM1.

The GM1 is a good mule for MF lenses. Left arrow, press set (screen magnified), twirl dial (change magnification level), twist focus ring (focus), click.

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RoelHendrickx
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Not legacy, but designed for µFT and still manual focus
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

I use Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm, Rokinon 85mm (FT versioin, with adapter) and Rokinon 7.5mmFE.

Manual focus works well with the EVF and just judging by eye-sight (no focus peaking necessary for me).

No electronic contacts, so obviously no automatic magnification upon touching the focus ring.  But I mapped magnification to Fn Button 1.

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Guy Parsons
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Not this bunny.
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

Tom, there's plenty here who use all sorts of legacy lenses.

In my case no. I do have plenty of Nikon and Pentax lenses rolling about from film days but the bother of using them leaves me cold.

No gain at all as an early careful comparison between one of my best Nikon lenses (55/2.8 macro) and an early Olympus 4/3 kit lens (old large 4/3 40-150mm) left me with the impression that the kit lens was as good, maybe a tiny whisker better than the Nikon lens with both at best apertures, so why bother? The 4/3 and M4/3 lenses need to be higher resolution than lenses designed for the 35mm film frame so maybe that makes a difference.

Now with the Olympus 12-40/2.8 on my camera I see no way I'll ever use anything else in that range, in fact I may never take it off my E-PL5 ever again.

Regards..... Guy

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Not legacy, but designed for µFT and still manual focus
In reply to RoelHendrickx, 7 months ago

RoelHendrickx wrote:

I use Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm, Rokinon 85mm (FT versioin, with adapter) and Rokinon 7.5mmFE.

Manual focus works well with the EVF and just judging by eye-sight (no focus peaking necessary for me).

No electronic contacts, so obviously no automatic magnification upon touching the focus ring. But I mapped magnification to Fn Button 1.

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Roel Hendrickx
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Thanks Roel, I just get the impression that there are number of MF lens users in various configurations out there but they all must be hiding.  Which means that those who have been buying all those MF adapters for M4/3 must be just out quite sensibly using them.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Not this bunny.
In reply to Guy Parsons, 7 months ago

Guy Parsons wrote:

Tom, there's plenty here who use all sorts of legacy lenses.

In my case no. I do have plenty of Nikon and Pentax lenses rolling about from film days but the bother of using them leaves me cold.

No gain at all as an early careful comparison between one of my best Nikon lenses (55/2.8 macro) and an early Olympus 4/3 kit lens (old large 4/3 40-150mm) left me with the impression that the kit lens was as good, maybe a tiny whisker better than the Nikon lens with both at best apertures, so why bother? The 4/3 and M4/3 lenses need to be higher resolution than lenses designed for the 35mm film frame so maybe that makes a difference.

Now with the Olympus 12-40/2.8 on my camera I see no way I'll ever use anything else in that range, in fact I may never take it off my E-PL5 ever again.

Regards..... Guy

Fair comment Guy but then you never proceeded to the simple joys of the GXR with M mount module.  I think MF is more for the fun of it, the challenge, rather than finding the best AF lens in the business. I am sure that there are many great AF lenses out there and the general tenor of this forum is that this is what most members both want and do.

Which puzzles me a bit because if you look up MF lens adapters to M4/3 mount for sale on the web it seems that there is a huge industry there catering for somebody.  Somebody who?  And not a squeak about the emerging focal reducer adapters for M4/3 that reduce the crop factor form 2.0x to 1.4x.

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Guy Parsons
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Re: Not this bunny.
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Fair comment Guy but then you never proceeded to the simple joys of the GXR with M mount module.

I saw that as a dead end and never went there.

I think MF is more for the fun of it, the challenge, rather than finding the best AF lens in the business. I am sure that there are many great AF lenses out there and the general tenor of this forum is that this is what most members both want and do.

I know that I approach photography from the technical angle but I do realise that the purpose of our gear is to take photographs, so that is what I like to do more than to fiddle with cameras.

Which puzzles me a bit because if you look up MF lens adapters to M4/3 mount for sale on the web it seems that there is a huge industry there catering for somebody. Somebody who? And not a squeak about the emerging focal reducer adapters for M4/3 that reduce the crop factor form 2.0x to 1.4x.

Out of curiosity I did buy the Nikon adapter and played with each lens but then back in the drawer with them. Also bought an Exakta adapter but that was to adapt a 1950's vintage microscope adapter tube so I can mount my E-PL5 on my old lab microscope. Others of course adapt to telescopes.

But the growing population of M4/3 users mostly just use the available M4/3 lenses as there now seems to be something over 70 lenses available from various manufacturers. So in most cases it's a situation of why bother.

There's many cases of people coming up from point & shoot so having system cameras is all new to them and they will stick with dedicated lenses to keep it simple. The other big group consists of DSLR users looking for something smaller and lighter and they will buy dedicated lenses to keep it small, but will get those adapters to have  play with some of their favourite film lenses.

Regards...... Guy

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Tom Caldwell
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GM1 = R4 with a twist
In reply to Guy Parsons, 7 months ago

Guy, here is something that will delight you:

I pulled out my well worn but still working Ricoh R4 and sat it next to the GM1.  These two camera bodies are within millimetres of being the same size.  The R4 in fact is slightly deeper.  But of course the R4 lens retracts and you have to take the considerable variable of the multiple possibilities of the lenses that can be attached to the GM1.  Of curse the GM1 is also heavier built.

Sitting there looking at the nuggety little devil - has a 40mm f1.4 Voigtlander Nokton in LM mount on it (effectively 80mm f1.4) at the moment. Have to use MF of course.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Not this bunny.
In reply to Guy Parsons, 7 months ago

Guy Parsons wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Fair comment Guy but then you never proceeded to the simple joys of the GXR with M mount module.

I saw that as a dead end and never went there.

I think MF is more for the fun of it, the challenge, rather than finding the best AF lens in the business. I am sure that there are many great AF lenses out there and the general tenor of this forum is that this is what most members both want and do.

I know that I approach photography from the technical angle but I do realise that the purpose of our gear is to take photographs, so that is what I like to do more than to fiddle with cameras.

Which puzzles me a bit because if you look up MF lens adapters to M4/3 mount for sale on the web it seems that there is a huge industry there catering for somebody. Somebody who? And not a squeak about the emerging focal reducer adapters for M4/3 that reduce the crop factor form 2.0x to 1.4x.

Out of curiosity I did buy the Nikon adapter and played with each lens but then back in the drawer with them. Also bought an Exakta adapter but that was to adapt a 1950's vintage microscope adapter tube so I can mount my E-PL5 on my old lab microscope. Others of course adapt to telescopes.

But the growing population of M4/3 users mostly just use the available M4/3 lenses as there now seems to be something over 70 lenses available from various manufacturers. So in most cases it's a situation of why bother.

There's many cases of people coming up from point & shoot so having system cameras is all new to them and they will stick with dedicated lenses to keep it simple. The other big group consists of DSLR users looking for something smaller and lighter and they will buy dedicated lenses to keep it small, but will get those adapters to have play with some of their favourite film lenses.

Regards...... Guy

All very practical and fair comment.  I meshes with the vibes I get from the forum.

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Smarabuto
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

I bought recentely a Metabones adapter to use my good colection of nikon lens.

The e-m1 is very good taking care of them. I don't experiment all of them by now, but i having fun on the process.

This photo is not a very good one, but i belive that shows how good a old Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED-IF AI-s AF can be on a Olympus e-m1 body.

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joergzielosko
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

I would really like to use the Voigtländer 17.5 as an all-purpose lens on my E-M5, but it is too expensive and too large and heavy. So I ended using only AF mFT lenses, but in MF mode to a large degree.

Also played with some legacy OM lenses (50 f/1.4, 135 f/2.8, 200 f/4). But they do not offer anything over native mFT lenses.

My understanding is that a FF mirrorless system (such as Sony A7) is better suited for adapting legacy glass (when the corner softness / vigetting / colour shift issue is solved). I am dreaming of a small FF mirrorless body and adapted Leica M glass. Time will tell.

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Ron Evers
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Re: Not legacy, but designed for µFT and still manual focus
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

Tom Caldwell wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

I use Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm, Rokinon 85mm (FT versioin, with adapter) and Rokinon 7.5mmFE.

Manual focus works well with the EVF and just judging by eye-sight (no focus peaking necessary for me).

No electronic contacts, so obviously no automatic magnification upon touching the focus ring. But I mapped magnification to Fn Button 1.

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Roel Hendrickx
lots of images: www.roelh.zenfolio.com
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

Thanks Roel, I just get the impression that there are number of MF lens users in various configurations out there but they all must be hiding. Which means that those who have been buying all those MF adapters for M4/3 must be just out quite sensibly using them.

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Tom Caldwell

I bought the first m4/3 camera when it came out (G1) & the two slow zoom lenses @ the time.  Not at all happy with the slow glass I started buying legacy lenses & adapted them & used them almost exclusively until I bought my E-M5 & started buying native lenses.  I accumulated about thirty vintage lenses with M39, M42, MC/MD, FD & PK mounts.  Now that I have faster native glass, I rarely go to my collection except for macro.

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Eric Nepean
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

I have the Canon FD50mm F1.4 and the Canon FD 135mmF2.5, and a FD-MFT adapter. I don't use them a lot as the situation they are useful in is low light and wide open, and then focusing is tricky and time consuming. For the FD 50mm to be really sharp, I need to stop it down, in which case I may as well use my Panny 35-100 F2.8

I purchased an FD bellows and FD reverse adaptor, intending to use the FD 50mm  for macro photography, but haven't had the time to pursue that yet.

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Felice62
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

I am sharing my legacy MF lenses between  the A7 and the Panasonic G6.

For the above I am using 'cheap' flange adapters (no focal reducers / speed booster, no additional lenses).

I am fine with both A7 and G6 focus peaking and it's a lotta fun.

I've mainly prime lenses with a single exception, Canon FD 35-105 /3.5 macro that I purchased because it was a bargain and looked quite good

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jeffharris
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

Tom Caldwell wrote:

But MF can be fun and Panasonic has tossed in a reasonable focus peaking system in the GM1 at least and not being "into" Olympus I presume that there is one in current use there as well.

Focus peaking just increases the fun of using MF lenses. But it is not for everyone.

I would like to get some feedback from those who use MF lenses, what types, and what adapters and techniques they use. Also if they are using any of the new Focal reducer adapters that are appearing on the market for M4/3 mount.

I'm one of the manual lens users around here. I try to keep things as simple as possible and simply prefer the process of using manual lenses… real mechanical focus and aperture rings and M mode… to AF. It's simpler and more direct. Tactile. Sure, I use AF lenses, too, my faves being a 7-14mm and 100-300mm. But when I'm out shooting stuff, I grab the manual lenses. I also prefer the rendering of my manual lenses to my electronic ones, especially the Voigtländers, Nikon and Pentax. Electronic lenses seem to be all about sharpness over character.

My main manual lenses are the three native M4/3 Voigtländers, a M4/3 SLR Magic 12mm, a couple of Voigtländer M and L mount lenses, a number of Nikon AI-S macro and telephotos, a couple of Pentax SMC Takumars and a lone Olympus OM 135mm f2.8. Aside from my native M4/3 mount lenses, the lens adaptors I use are inexpensive, one dedicated adaptor for each lens, either from Rainbow Imaging or Fotodiox.

Eventually I'll probably get a second generation Sony A7r, after they get the kinks worked out. I'm already set. All I'll need is a new set of adaptors for all my manual lenses.

I haven't really considered using a SpeedBooster, since I chose lenses that are are generally fast to begin with and the 2x crop factor is all that my mathematically challenged little brain can handle.

I have a GH2 and GX7. I find that focus peaking is a good, rough aide for focus, but using an EVF with magnified view, is the best way to nail it.

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jeffharris
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Re: More using adapted manual lenses than you think…
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Which puzzles me a bit because if you look up MF lens adapters to M4/3 mount for sale on the web it seems that there is a huge industry there catering for somebody. Somebody who?

There are quite a few mirrorless systems out there ALL with pretty thin selections of native lenses. So, instead of complain about a dearth of available native glass, what's the best way to fill the gaps? Adapt manual lenses.

In the three years I've been using M4/3, and adapting manual lenses, I've seen the cost of used manual lenses rise quite a bit. At least at KEH where I've bought most of my used lenses. A couple have jumped 25% or more!

As more and more new mirrorless systems are released, I think we'll see that trend continue.

There's also something quite special about using some older lenses. The rendering and character some older lenses have over the current trend toward clinical sharpness has a lot of appeal for some people. Is it soul? Maybe.

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tt321
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to jeffharris, 7 months ago

jeffharris wrote:

I have a GH2 and GX7. I find that focus peaking is a good, rough aide for focus, but using an EVF with magnified view, is the best way to nail it.

Jeff: Do you focus at the shooting aperture, or focus wide open then stop down and shoot?

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jeffharris
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to tt321, 7 months ago

tt321 wrote:

jeffharris wrote:

I have a GH2 and GX7. I find that focus peaking is a good, rough aide for focus, but using an EVF with magnified view, is the best way to nail it.

Jeff: Do you focus at the shooting aperture, or focus wide open then stop down and shoot?

Set the aperture and focus.

I shoot in M mode and have Constant Preview activated. That way I pretty much see the exposure I'll be getting. With the GX7, I sometimes need to activate magnified to see the actual exposure. It seems to work a little different from the GH2

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chad515
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

Not sure what qualifies as a serious user, but I definitely use legacy lenses. I have several legacy Canon FD lenses, including the 50mm f1.4, 50mm f3.5 Macro, 100mm f2, 200mm f2.8, 300mm f5.6. I don't use them nearly as much as my native lenses, but they're fun to experiment with and fill in gaps in my native lenses.

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Iskender
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Silver Age of Legacy Lenses
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

As others have alluded to, the golden age of legacy lenses in this system was when it was new: I remember seeing this forum being born, and there being constant discussions about adapting this and that, and some pretty creative uses of legacy lenses. A lot of good results, too.

These days, I get the impression that the majority of legacy lens users are on a budget. They've probably been further reduced after Sigma released their affordable lenses for the system, and especially after they had a sale for the Mk I versions (bought the 19/2.8 myself). Since I'm using this system on a budget, I have no interest in the speed booster adapters: they're to expensive.

Still, the system user base is larger than ever before, and even a smaller percentage of all the users are probably enough for the Chinese adapter manufacturers. I think the average user in here is pretty well-off and uses a lot of money on gear, and the budget-conscious may fade into the background.

Some things I've found out while using legacy lenses:

  • Cheap Chinese adapters are a good deal. If one doesn't work, just get another. Adapters from Novoflex and similar are much more expensive and add little value.
  • Konica Hexanon lenses are great. My Konica Hexanon AR 40/1.8 with adapter is about the size of a 25/1.4, if I'm not mistaken. I got this as an assembled set - I believe they require minor modification to be adapted, but to get anything else this small you have to buy hugely expensive rangefinder optics.
  • 50mm lenses of any brand are a good deal, just don't use too much money.
  • Canon FD and Olympus OM lenses give good or great performance, but may cost too much.
  • M42 is the ultimate budget mount - you can get all kinds of lenses for almost nothing (I seem to recall a friend buying a lens for four dollars, including shipping). The long adapter and relatively primitive lenses *will* add a lot of bulk. However, if you want background blur on the cheap, then nothing can probably beat an M42 135/3.5 (one auction I see right now has seven euros as the latest bid).

I hope this is of use to someone! It's great that manual focus is easy again - I used the old Four Thirds system and manual focus was bad enough that I quickly gave up the idea of legacy lenses. In this system it's very useful, however.

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KwhyChang
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Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 7 months ago

I find there are more on the Sony NEX/Alpha 7/7R forum, but you could take a poll.

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