New lenses where old lenses are rare

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,852
New lenses where old lenses are rare

My fastest legacy MF lens was an adventure into a Canon ltm 50/1.2 which i am quite happy with - the bonus being that it looks like a really mean mother on the tiny Panasonic GM5 - the mini-RF that Leica should have made.  But Panasonic did not do a bad job in making a minimalist camera body that left no useful control missing and resisted the impulse to make it twee for the entry level market.

The pity being that the M4/3 mob thinks that any camera made that small could only be made for the entry level market and at best i would be good as a pocketable backup.  Besides all small cameras must be cheap .... and the GM series was not cheap when launched.  Goodness .... did Panasonic lose the plot and let the bean counters loose with the price list reckoning?

Well it was pretty sophisticated and well built for its size and Panasonic found that it would only sell well at a price somewhat less than they would like to sell it.

Consequently I made hay when the prices were at my quite reasonable level and Panasonic has never updated it.

But I digress.

The real purpose of this post was to re-raise the subject of the Legacy MF Lens resurgence in the form of acceptable priced Chinese brand new MF lenses.

For some time they have been coming on the market in modest specification but seeming good value for what they were.

I celebrated by buying one for AUD$45 (about US$30) just because I could.  This was full price, to my door including freight and one of the cheapest I have bought for a price that would hardly cover freight for a second hand legacy lens let alone eBay's unhelpful 10% impost for our GST.  What I got was a tiny 35/1.6 Newy branded lens of passable quality in M4/3 mount. Not something to get excited about but certainly as good as many where the freight alone to good old Oz can often exceed this. Consider that this is obviously a proper camera lens and not a CCTV lens at a similar price.

In any case Chinese made usually quotes delivered price and not $xyz + freight + GST on everything.  But that is my marketplace.

Recently however the "Chinese new" seem to be pushing into the boundaries.  Now offering lenses with specifications that reach into lottery numbers for Legacy MF.

These lenses are not necessary cheap but are quite good value nonetheless.

I found a 7Artisans (aps-c) lens in M4/3 35/0.95 at what seemed a reasonable price and considered the fact that I did not have a lens rated that fast.  So I bought it on speculation.  I was quite impressed - well made, well presented and it seems to work very well. On the rush of that experience I added a 7A 50/0.95, and a more expensive larger and heavier 7A 25/0.95.  Now a troika of f0.95 lenses and am quite happy with the value.  f0.95 is a quite narrow field of view even on M4/3 and has required a bit of mental adjustment of how I approach wide open.

On new products Meike has just released an obvious re-brand of the 7A 50/0.95 with a not very good set of sample images and of course based on these imagesit did not get good press. Don't we love our 'sample images'? ....

I am not an image purist and follow the good enough policy - these lenses are certainly good enough to waste my spare shekels on and I would never pay some of the outlandish asking prices for such fast legacy MF lenses.

Just for good luck I biought the 7Artisans 60/2.8 MkII macro lens as well.  (Must be nuts ....) This brand has certainly lifted its build and presentation game in recent times (not that it was ever bad).

Where I come from here is that Chinese manufacturers of quite workable "common as muck" specified lenses at very acceptable prices seem to have lifted their game into more exotic specified lenses (at higher prices) - but perhaps like all new brands on the track have yet to be recognised as serious players. Time and some silly early adopters such as myself might change this of course.  Once upon a time Toyota and Honda were considered cheap junk.

On the other hand I suppose that I might be easily pleased, but pleased enough I am.  Now I have some more impressive looking lenses that look at least tres-cool on my GM5 and rival the Canon ltm 50/1.2.  The Canon 50/0.95 of course is a price bridge too far for me.

Tres cool of course does not necessarily take good images ... but that is more up to the photographer as much as the lens.  I am still working on my skills.

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Tom Caldwell

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5
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