I've caught the MF bug

Started Jan 22, 2014 | Discussions thread
brightcolours Forum Pro • Posts: 14,447
Best skip the FD lenses from your list

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


(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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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.

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