Not Huge on Legacy Glass

Started Mar 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
Biggstr Forum Member • Posts: 53
Shooting Manual is a Different Kind of Photography

I don't know why we so often call adaptive lenses "legacy" lenses in MFT systems. Sometimes (as in my case) they are brand new. As my experience with live view matures, I find myself shooting in manual mode most of the time with my Olympus P2s, including manual focus with exposure calculated from a hand-held incident light meter (exposure is almost never the same as using the in-camera reflective light metering). I prefer the color saturation as well as the better interplay of light and shadow from a hand-held incident light meter ... and manual focus is always spot on. Manual focus is definitely not for action shots, but the number of my "keepers" for everything else is increasing geometrically.

I shoot manual with a stable of standard Olympus and Panasonic zooms and primes and five one-year old Nikon AIS lenses that had never been mounted on my Nikon body (I originally thought of selling my Nikon AIS lenses to pay for my MFT system ... but not a chance now). I recently picked up a new Voigtlander 90mm SLII in Nikon mount. Indeed, I'm coming to prefer the Nikon and Voigtlander prime lenses to the electronic autofocus lenses. I find the manual focus on the electronic lenses rough and difficult to use with precision; I also prefer an aperture ring on the lens. On the contrary, manual focus on the Nikon and Voigtlander primes are silky smooth.

A personal quandary: Buy more electronic autofocus lenses as they are released ... or, pay the premium for Nikon, Voigtlander, and Zeiss primes? I'm tending toward the latter for my lens collection, including expanding to Leica mount prime lenses. This is different advice than one often gets on the blogs from experts such as Thom Hogan which is, "If you already have legacy glass, go ahead and play with them with MFT ... otherwise don't bother and invest in autofocus lenses."

Shooting 100% manual is a different kind of photography but, for me at least, it is helping me get back to the fundamentals of photography, which are the interplay of light, shadow, speed, aperture, and focus with the results determined by the eye rather than algorithms in a camera.

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