Manual Focus shooters - what classic lenses do you use?

Started Jul 4, 2014 | Discussions thread
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 36,000
Re: Manual Focus shooters - what classic lenses do you use?

Eric Nepean wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Eric Nepean wrote:

uberzone wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Maklike Tier wrote:

I've been thinking about the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 as my next lens, but instead of that I was maybe thinking about trying to find some classic glass and attaching it to my E-P5.

For all you manual focus fans out there, what would be a great piece of glass for MF street and general walkabout style shooting?

Wides seem very popular but what is wrong with medium telephoto?

If you find an exquisite Canon FL 50mm f1.4 and fit it to a FD focal reducer you get a very sharp MF lens of some real quality. Also the focal reducer converts the lens by giving an extra stop of light and the net effect on the crop factor is 1.4x instead of 2.0x.

In effect your FL 50mm f1.4 becomes a 70mm f1.0.

I have the FD 50mm F1.4 and find this works great ... do you know if there is an IQ difference between the FL and FD series?

I have a full set of FDn lenses including the 14mm 2.8 and the 24mm 1.4. They are both fantastic and work great on m4/3, but the really don't make much sense practically speaking. The Panasonic 14mm 2.8 is crazy small and works just as well as the Canon FD 14mm 2.8. Same story for the Canon 24mm 1.4 vs the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 (the Panasonic is sharper in this case at larger apertures). The use of a Speedbooster will give you a slightly different focal length and make them a bit faster however.

To answer your question, I would stay away from FL lenses and only get the FD or FDn versions. They have superior coatings and are universally sharper. I prefer the FDn lenses because they are smaller and lighter than their FD counterparts. Consensus seems to be that the top "Aspherical" FD lenses are just slightly better than the equivalent "L" FDn lenses. The size and weight make them not worth it to me, so I went with FDn.

I have FD50mm F1.4 - with the Metabones speedbooster this makes a 35mm F1.0 lens which seems to be quite sharp when stopped down half a top or so, and not to bad wide open. The depth of field is narrow, as one would expect.

The FD 50mm F1.2 is supposed to be quite a sharp lens but its quite expensive to buy used, and I don't see the point in buying it since I already have the 50mm F1.4.

As you mention, there's not much potential in most of the FD wide angle lenses, except possibly if you already have the FD 24mm F1.4, then with the Metabones it becomes a 17mm F1.0 But if you don't have it already, one may as well buy the Voigtlander Nokton 17mm F0.95 for about the same price.

There's potential in the telephotos, with the FD85mm F1.8, FD100 F2.0 and FD200mm F2.8 and 200mmF4.0 being available for reasonable prices and forming interesting combinations with a 0.71x speedbooster

I have the first three telephotos - all good lenses and can be used with non-Metabones Focal Reducers to good effect. I don't have the FD 85mm f1.2 of reknown but as I have had the EF 85mm f1.2 MK1 lens for many years the RJ electronic adapter for the Sony E mount gives full functionality if a very slow AF. The Metabones Speed Booster gives the same lens no AF at all but the advantage of the focal reducer lens. I would certainly consider this exquisite well loved monster too large to be sensible for a M4/3 body.

I just purchased from eBay the FDn 200mm F2.8, should arrive in a couple of weeks. I think this could be quite a versatile wildlife lens, since it will be equivalent to a FF 400mm F5.6 lens (FOV & DOF), but I will be able to use a 2x fastershutter speed, and with 0.71x speedbooster 280mm FOV and F4.0 DOF. At 770g, not too heavy to handhold.

Since it doesn't have autofocus, birds in flight won't be its forte, but it might be a touch short for that anyway.


I think that you will enjoy this lens.  It is internal focusing and has a slide out locking fixed hood, it is also smaller than one might think for a fast-200  - FF sensor capable.  No tripod mount built in but it is hand-holdable.  Probably best with a larger body and evf for the traditional grip. I have not tried mine with the GM1 but it should be possible using my home-made VEfinder which uses the lcd and a lens to provide an eyefinder with a dslr-style grip.

The 200/2.8 converts to a 280mm f2.0 nominal with a FD focal reducer which is a nice combination especially when the lens does not have the bother of extending elements.

I paid US$200 equivalent for mine in pristine condition - I noticed one for sale for $160 just recently - the bargain must have become better.

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Tom Caldwell

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