Using Leica, Mamiya, Olympus OM lenses

Started Oct 14, 2008 | Discussions thread
jamesdak Veteran Member • Posts: 4,827
Re: Using Leica, Mamiya, Olympus OM lenses

bvphotos wrote:

You can get some of these 3rd party lenses (maybe not Leica, but
several others) quite cheap. But I believe even with an adapter
(e.g., Oly to Canon EF), you lose AF. Is that right? Which adapters
would you recommend?

You lose both AF and the ability to control the aperture with the body. I mainly use and am happy with the fotodiox pro adapters and the Haoda AF confirm ones. The AF confirms enables the DSLR's AF system to indicate when you have achieved focus.

Opinion on whether these lenses are optically superior the Canons
appears to be split from what I can see. Are there particularly cheap
lenses that you believe are worth considering?

Well, I've done several side by side tests in the Canon's always seem to fall short in terms of corner to corndr sharpness, tonal ranges, etc. This is in reference to wide/standard range lenses. The Canon telephoto's are great.

Lots and lots of cheap options. As an example, the Pentax SMC Takumar 50/1.4 is exceptional on a cropped body, corners get soft on FF though. I bought mine and the needed adapter for under $100. The Contax Zeiss 28/2.8 is another steller performer on a cropped body.

Good deals are out there to be had. I've paid well under $300 a piece for most of my Contax Zeiss's. The 28/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/1.4, 85/2.8 and 135/2.8. The Contax Zeiss 100/2.8 cost me $600 but is pretty much the best lens I have and well worth several hundred more IMHO.

The Oly OM 24/2.8 is a super sharp, small lens that can be had quite cheap too.

Even the Leicas can be found cheap with careful searching. I picked up a 90/2.8 and 135/2.8 together for $300 and have a 50/2.0 on the way for under $150. All are awesome optically performing lenses. I also have a Leica 180/3.4 APO that easily surpasses my Canon 70-200/2.8L in terms of sharpness and color especially at infinity focus.

Then add in the Leica 560/6.8 that I got for under $1000. This very long but light lens is surprisingly sharp for such a simple (2 elements/ 24 blade aperture) lens.

Another steal is the M42 mount Vivitar Series 1 90/2.5 macro. 1:1 ratio with bokeh to die for at a really nice price.

Further, on an XT, using manual focus can be quite a challenge (at
least for me). Are there other cameras where manual focus is better?

I mainly use my alternative lenses on my Canon 5D which has the optional enhanced matte focusing screen. The 40D I have can be a bit more of a challenge to focus with a lot of these lenses. Live view can help according to what you are trying to shoot.

Obviously I am a fan of the alternative lenses and feel they are a substantial bonus in terms of IQ and price to my photography. Check out Fred Miranda's site and it's alternative lens forum for a ton of info on this subject.

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Rebel XT, Canon 100 f2, Canon 100-400 IS, Canon 50 1.4, Sigma 18-200
OS, kit lens

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Long live the HMS Beagle
Critiques always welcome!

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