Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

Started Feb 4, 2014 | Discussions
OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,671
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

norman shearer wrote:

I use MF more than I do AF. My fondness for legacy glass began with the Canon 5D. I was wanting a good wide-angle for landscape shooting and the Canon offerings were either uber expensive or rather underwhelming. So I bought an Olympus Zuiko 21mm F2. Then a Carl Zeiss Jenna 135mm and a Helios 44M-2. So the love affair with legacy glass began.

My legacy collection was a little limited because of the flange distance ruling out so many good and cheap lenses. That was my main reason for buying a Panasonic Lumix G1. Truth be told I often used legacy glass when better native lenses sat at home (like the 14-45 zoom and the Pany 20mm pancake).

Then I heard about focus peaking and the smaller crop factor of APS-C and got a Sony 5N. Loved that sensor and immediately flogged my GH2. Never used an AF lens with that camera until the 19mm and 30mm Sigmas appeared. Not impressed by Sony 5N AF so even MF the Sigmas! I've since bought lots of legacy lenses but my growing collection of Konica Hexanon glass stands out in particular. Mostly bought from Ebay though I have snagged a few good lenses from carboots, like the Carl Zeiss Flektagon 35mm F2.4 (£10).

Got a Pentax K01 which now has an early SMC Pentax 28mm F3.5 lens that practically lives on that body.

Missed m43 though so got back in with GF3, then E-PL5 and now a GX7. I like the m43 sensor dof for shooting street so it's normally native lenses I use now. Despite the great AF I generally zone focus. I expect I'll slap on some legacy glass for portraiture and birding.

I've always bought cheap adapters from Ebay and they have generally been fine. Only issue I've had is with Canon FD adapters. One got stuck to a lens. Another 2 were problematic getting the aperture to work correctly.

I am tempted by the Sony A7 but can wait till the price drops or for version 2 to arrive. Both my Canon 5D and Sony 5N have depreciated so much in value now that I'll probably never sell them on. This means I'll not replace them with anything but a body that is significantly better.

Thanks Norman it says it all.  Don't get locked in but follow the mind's fancy.  I don't think I am far off a similar path.

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Tom Caldwell

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,671
Re: i shoot mf lenses most of the time

mrc4nl wrote:

I dare to say i have gathered quite amount of mf glass. 7 full frame and 4 c-mount.

How do you get on with vignetting?  I have a few C-mount lenses but most of them either vignette on M4/3 of the aperture ring fouls the recessed portion of the adapter rendering it inoperable.

the full frame lenses give me quality, the c-mount lenses are just for fun/night shooting (6-12mm f1.4)
i shoot mf lenses a lot, more than my native (i own just 2)
my favourites are the minolta 50mm f2, tokina 28mm f2.8.
the minolta must be focused using magnified view since it has a narrow dof.
the tokina can be focused without magnification, although its not fail safe.
i tap the screen and i have full magnified view, half press the shutter button, and normal view pops up. simple and effective.

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Tom Caldwell

Ontario Gone
Ontario Gone Veteran Member • Posts: 4,183
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

I prefer MF shooting, although there are times when the speed of AF is needed, but not often. To me MF (especially with peaking) offers the greatest control, uses less battery and is just funner than AF. Afterall, if we are not pros, which most are not, this is all for fun anyway. Nobody will die because we didn't get any pics of our cats, it's simply an enjoyment.

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beomagi Senior Member • Posts: 1,372
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Subtitled "What is a focal reducer?"

It seems that most members of this forum are using M4/3 oem AF lenses. They will perform well, are matched to the camera mount and are straight forward in use. No problem.

But MF can be fun and Panasonic has tossed in a reasonable focus peaking system in the GM1 at least and not being "into" Olympus I presume that there is one in current use there as well.

Focus peaking just increases the fun of using MF lenses. But it is not for everyone.

I would like to get some feedback from those who use MF lenses, what types, and what adapters and techniques they use. Also if they are using any of the new Focal reducer adapters that are appearing on the market for M4/3 mount.

These adapters change the normal crop factor effectively from 2.0x to 1.4x they also give one full stop of extra light for the lens. For example a f2.8 lens will act like a f2.0 as far as light to the sensor is concerned.

I am using the RJ M42-M4/3 adapter and I have accumulated a good number of MF lenses that I now share between the Ricoh GXR-M LM mount, the Sony NEX6 E mount and still occasionally use on the Samsung NX10 NX mount. I can now use many of these lenses also on the GM1.

The GM1 is a good mule for MF lenses. Left arrow, press set (screen magnified), twirl dial (change magnification level), twist focus ring (focus), click.

Any relation to Brian Caldwell?

I've recently received a cheaper EF-MFT 0.72x Chinese focal reducer, and I'm loving it.

I use 2 systems - so most my gear is manual, and I admit to GAS. If it works on my 5D, I want it on my EP3. Since the adapter is EF, I've been able to toy with my F, K, M42, CY, and OM mount lenses on the 5D and then on the EP3. Right now the 55mm F1.2 FD converted has supplanted the 25mm PL native lens from my EP3 thanks to the focal reducer. I'll admit effective 80mm isn't quite comfortable, but the effective light gain (f0.86) is insanely addictive, especially with this older noisy sensor.

My 5d is even more of my main MF camera. see, I bought the old 5d "cheaply" because I had every intention of modifying it to work with my 55mm F1.2 FD I initially got for the EP3. The mirror was ground down to not hit the back of older lenses, focusing screen replaced and calibrated with scotch tape...

It's not just about curiosity, but practicality. The AF on the 5D is atrocious. AF or not - prefocus rules, and if you're not ready to prefocus and time it then shooting a burst while racking focus can work. Caf on the EP3 and 5D both suck more than I do with manual focus when my kid is moving usually, so to get the shot it's normally my best option.
Then there's low light capability - in terms of affordability (any f1.2 af vs manual) and specification (F1.4 and brighter lenses on focal reducers are in a very elite club).
Cost is a factor in every situation.
Character is a reason, but it take time to appreciate it in quirky lenses.

Of course, anyone doing video may learn to appreciate the smooth focusing, and sometimes clickless aperture a manual lens can provide.

These were all done on the 5d. No way was this going to give me sharp focus otherwise.

Reason 1: movement!

NB: these are from the 5D

135mm F1.8 Spiratone. Shot wide open, horses running towards me. Prefocus->snap->pre focus ahead and wait->snap...repeat

135mm F1.8D - I like it when she runs around because it means she'll sleep through the night and not wake me up. I LOVE catching shots with her in motion.

Reason 2: Cost!

pretty much any lens here is far cheaper than AF alternatives.

Jupiter, and it's 4 largest moons. 500mm F8 Tokina RMC. No way would I afford an AF long lens. ~$80

Reason 3: Low Light!

My 35mm and 55mm Manual F1.2 lenses both cost much less than my PL 25mm F1.4. Of course now that I have speed booster, it's even faster and more usable.

ISO3200 on the EPL1 with 55mm F1.2, 1/13.

EPL1 and 55mm F1.2 FD. Pitch black except for her light up turtle.

Reason 4: Character!

This was done with a c-mount Canon PHF 35mm F1.2. Love the swirly bokeh!

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Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,547
I hear ya Tom, I hear ya.

I hear ya Tom. I've really taken to using legacy glass on my Oly's...first my E-M5 and now my E-M1. I've had the 14, 20, 25, 45 and 75 and even with all of those, I still love using strange old MF lenses. It has nothing to do with absolute image quality and much more to do with personal enjoyment...I mean, it's a hobby, so that's what it's all about. I also find I get some very cool pictoral results. I've got adapters for m42, OM, Canon FD, Nikon F, Minolta and C/Y.

But MF can be fun and Panasonic has tossed in a reasonable focus peaking system in the GM1 at least and not being "into" Olympus I presume that there is one in current use there as well.

I use the E-M1 and it is great for legacy glass. Peaking and magnification make it a snap, especially since they can so easily be assigned to custom function buttons.

Focus peaking just increases the fun of using MF lenses. But it is not for everyone.

I find peaking effective enough that I don't even need to use magnification that often. I actually like to set my lenses at MFD or close to it, flip the screen out and then just move my camera back and forth until I see what I want outlined and in focus. Works brilliantly and is a ton of fun.

I would like to get some feedback from those who use MF lenses, what types, and what adapters and techniques they use. Also if they are using any of the new Focal reducer adapters that are appearing on the market for M4/3 mount.

I haven't tried any of the Metabones Speed Boosters yet...the $400 price tag defeats the purpose for me. I use some cheap ebay adapters which I've found to be great, especially given the price.

As for lenses, I have a few that I really enjoy. The Nikon 50/2 Ai-s is a very nice lens that can be had for cheap and the Olympus OM 50/3.5 macro is a real gem. It's very small, sharp and goes to 1:2. That said, my current favourite is actually an old East German Pentacon 50/1.8 that I bought with a camera for $25. It has a nice short MFD of 0.33m and produces some cool close-up photos...which is good because it's not great at infinity.  It has quite a 'glow' wide open and softens skin tones nicely. I really like it at f/2.8.

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Dave Sanders

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,671
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

beomagi wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Subtitled "What is a focal reducer?"

It seems that most members of this forum are using M4/3 oem AF lenses. They will perform well, are matched to the camera mount and are straight forward in use. No problem.

But MF can be fun and Panasonic has tossed in a reasonable focus peaking system in the GM1 at least and not being "into" Olympus I presume that there is one in current use there as well.

Focus peaking just increases the fun of using MF lenses. But it is not for everyone.

I would like to get some feedback from those who use MF lenses, what types, and what adapters and techniques they use. Also if they are using any of the new Focal reducer adapters that are appearing on the market for M4/3 mount.

These adapters change the normal crop factor effectively from 2.0x to 1.4x they also give one full stop of extra light for the lens. For example a f2.8 lens will act like a f2.0 as far as light to the sensor is concerned.

I am using the RJ M42-M4/3 adapter and I have accumulated a good number of MF lenses that I now share between the Ricoh GXR-M LM mount, the Sony NEX6 E mount and still occasionally use on the Samsung NX10 NX mount. I can now use many of these lenses also on the GM1.

The GM1 is a good mule for MF lenses. Left arrow, press set (screen magnified), twirl dial (change magnification level), twist focus ring (focus), click.

Any relation to Brian Caldwell?

No I am not, if we are we must be 64th cousins.  But as we are both clever I guess there must be some common dna there (grin)

I've recently received a cheaper EF-MFT 0.72x Chinese focal reducer, and I'm loving it.

I already have a variety - mostly for the Sony E mount.  Ia came across them when I was trying to find a way out of my Canon EF lens headlock. Great lenses and I love them but I am fed up with simply upgrading my dslr every so often as Canon would dictate and the EF-M was not what I was looking for.

I use 2 systems - so most my gear is manual, and I admit to GAS. If it works on my 5D, I want it on my EP3. Since the adapter is EF, I've been able to toy with my F, K, M42, CY, and OM mount lenses on the 5D and then on the EP3. Right now the 55mm F1.2 FD converted has supplanted the 25mm PL native lens from my EP3 thanks to the focal reducer. I'll admit effective 80mm isn't quite comfortable, but the effective light gain (f0.86) is insanely addictive, especially with this older noisy sensor.

My 5d is even more of my main MF camera. see, I bought the old 5d "cheaply" because I had every intention of modifying it to work with my 55mm F1.2 FD I initially got for the EP3. The mirror was ground down to not hit the back of older lenses, focusing screen replaced and calibrated with scotch tape...

It's not just about curiosity, but practicality. The AF on the 5D is atrocious. AF or not - prefocus rules, and if you're not ready to prefocus and time it then shooting a burst while racking focus can work. Caf on the EP3 and 5D both suck more than I do with manual focus when my kid is moving usually, so to get the shot it's normally my best option.
Then there's low light capability - in terms of affordability (any f1.2 af vs manual) and specification (F1.4 and brighter lenses on focal reducers are in a very elite club).
Cost is a factor in every situation.
Character is a reason, but it take time to appreciate it in quirky lenses.

Of course, anyone doing video may learn to appreciate the smooth focusing, and sometimes clickless aperture a manual lens can provide.

These were all done on the 5d. No way was this going to give me sharp focus otherwise.

Reason 1: movement!

NB: these are from the 5D

135mm F1.8 Spiratone. Shot wide open, horses running towards me. Prefocus->snap->pre focus ahead and wait->snap...repeat

135mm F1.8D - I like it when she runs around because it means she'll sleep through the night and not wake me up. I LOVE catching shots with her in motion.

Reason 2: Cost!

pretty much any lens here is far cheaper than AF alternatives.

Jupiter, and it's 4 largest moons. 500mm F8 Tokina RMC. No way would I afford an AF long lens. ~$80

Reason 3: Low Light!

My 35mm and 55mm Manual F1.2 lenses both cost much less than my PL 25mm F1.4. Of course now that I have speed booster, it's even faster and more usable.

ISO3200 on the EPL1 with 55mm F1.2, 1/13.

EPL1 and 55mm F1.2 FD. Pitch black except for her light up turtle.

Reason 4: Character!

This was done with a c-mount Canon PHF 35mm F1.2. Love the swirly bokeh!

And I thought I was adventurous - well done and thanks for the tips but I am not about to grind anything on my 5D, dear old thing.  I have not been overly worried by lack of AF speed on the 5D, but I agree that your MF technique for MF lenses is brilliant.

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Tom Caldwell

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,671
Re: I hear ya Tom, I hear ya.
1

Dave Sanders wrote:

I hear ya Tom. I've really taken to using legacy glass on my Oly's...first my E-M5 and now my E-M1. I've had the 14, 20, 25, 45 and 75 and even with all of those, I still love using strange old MF lenses. It has nothing to do with absolute image quality and much more to do with personal enjoyment...I mean, it's a hobby, so that's what it's all about. I also find I get some very cool pictoral results. I've got adapters for m42, OM, Canon FD, Nikon F, Minolta and C/Y.

But MF can be fun and Panasonic has tossed in a reasonable focus peaking system in the GM1 at least and not being "into" Olympus I presume that there is one in current use there as well.

I use the E-M1 and it is great for legacy glass. Peaking and magnification make it a snap, especially since they can so easily be assigned to custom function buttons.

Focus peaking just increases the fun of using MF lenses. But it is not for everyone.

I find peaking effective enough that I don't even need to use magnification that often. I actually like to set my lenses at MFD or close to it, flip the screen out and then just move my camera back and forth until I see what I want outlined and in focus. Works brilliantly and is a ton of fun.

I would like to get some feedback from those who use MF lenses, what types, and what adapters and techniques they use. Also if they are using any of the new Focal reducer adapters that are appearing on the market for M4/3 mount.

I haven't tried any of the Metabones Speed Boosters yet...the $400 price tag defeats the purpose for me. I use some cheap ebay adapters which I've found to be great, especially given the price.

The Chinese adapters work fine, on the Sony E mount there were criticisms however I hear that the M4/3 adapters from China might have been redesigned.  Certainly looking at lens diagrams published indicates that the Chinese adapters are quite different designs and not the "clone" or "rip-off" that is sometimes levelled at them.  If the performance is different then the design is more likely the cause and not some level of manufacturing laxity. I have seen the Zhongyi original design modified into a better element layout on the RJ version (for the E mount) and now the RJ M42 to M4/3 focal reducer feels, looks and seemingly acts as a well refined product.

Lest I seem to be in another camp I do have the Metabones Speed Booster and it is also a very good product.  Where I am coming from is that I might afford one or two Metabones adapters and be happy or I can afford quite a few more Chinese made ones and be just as happy. Some make do by buying an EF focal reducer and stacking other plain adapter rings as is necessary for other lens mounts that the owner might have.  This would work well enough but the more adapters stacked the more fiddly and also more chance for indexing errors to accumulate. Taking "a chance" on Chinese adapters has not caused me any serious grief so far.

People should do what they are most comfortable to do, I am only telling a story

As for lenses, I have a few that I really enjoy. The Nikon 50/2 Ai-s is a very nice lens that can be had for cheap and the Olympus OM 50/3.5 macro is a real gem. It's very small, sharp and goes to 1:2. That said, my current favourite is actually an old East German Pentacon 50/1.8 that I bought with a camera for $25. It has a nice short MFD of 0.33m and produces some cool close-up photos...which is good because it's not great at infinity. It has quite a 'glow' wide open and softens skin tones nicely. I really like it at f/2.8.

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Dave Sanders

Great examples Dave, I think you have it worked out.

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Tom Caldwell

Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,414
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

Tom Caldwell wrote:

... But I have made an exception and have a pre-order for a Nocticron. Even if I never buy any more M4/3 lenses I can be assured that it will happily grace a tiny GM1 forever. Like my Ricoh's I simply don't care if it is never upgraded and that probably states the case.

That's going to be a biggish lens for the GM1, but it does have image stabilization and should perform beautifully.

I've got more than enough equipment now, and my beloved Leica R lens kit is happiness itself on the A7 body. As I use it more and more, it may well push out everything else ... I just love what those lenses do.

In FourThirds format, I looked at the GM1 but its too small for me to be comfortable using, I'm sticking with the E-M1 as it also works best with my FT SLR lenses.

So many good cameras and lenses popped up in the past half year ... !

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hinting Contributing Member • Posts: 750
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
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G1Houston Senior Member • Posts: 2,745
Re: Focal reducers and focus peaking assist

jeffharris wrote:

G1Houston wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

There is no real reason why the FD 50mm f1.4 should not take great images. One of the things

These old 50 mm lenses were designed as a cheap all purpose kit lens back in the SLR days. Compared to their modern counter parts, such as those native m4/3 lenses, the old ones are usually prone to flare, soft wide open, and have harsh bokeh.

Check out the Pentax 50mm f1.4 SMC Takumar. It's an absolutely gorgeous lens, not dirt cheap, but even 40+ years later an excellent performer… even wide open! I've heard that it's a near-legendary lens.

I have many Nikon 50 mm lenses and I bought an Olympus OM 50/1.4 in mint conditions due to its softer bokeh, to be used on the GH1.  I saw many testimonial images from the Pentax lens and I don't think there is any dramatic difference between that and those MF lenses that I once owned.  None came near to the performance of the Panasonic 45/2.8, which I finally bought to use for video b/c it has OIS, which none of the MF lens has if you plan to use Panasonic cameras.  After it was stolen, I replaced it with the Olympus 45/1.8 b/c so many people here worship that lens.  However from my own experience, I much prefer the rendering of the 45/2.8.

Again, if you have these MF lenses already, it is perfectly fine to use them.  However if you don't have any lens, my suggestion is to go with the native versions as they are much better on average.

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,896
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?
1

hinting wrote:

There are plenty of MF lens users out there, but those who is interested may not be actively posting on this forum.

Here is my recent post on L/M mount tests.

Very nice!

GM1 + Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm F1.4 MC (M)

LOVE that lens! One of my favorites!

Here's one of mine. A Voigtländer 75mm f2.5 Color Heliar on my GX7.

On a GX1 with the lens hood.

A couple more of the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4.

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OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,671
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

Godfrey wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

... But I have made an exception and have a pre-order for a Nocticron. Even if I never buy any more M4/3 lenses I can be assured that it will happily grace a tiny GM1 forever. Like my Ricoh's I simply don't care if it is never upgraded and that probably states the case.

That's going to be a biggish lens for the GM1, but it does have image stabilization and should perform beautifully.

I don't mind larger lenses on smaller bodies, I never get an impulse to put them in my pocket

I saw the Nocticron as a way to turn the GM1 into a very powerful little camera.  I have such things as a Canon EF 85mm 1.2 quite happily working on a NEX6 with a Metabones Speed Booster doing its 91mm f0.9 equivalent and that is a big lump for a NEX. Pre-Nocticron I am trying out my CV Nokton 40/1.4 which is no trouble on the GM1. I will also try the 90mm f4.0 M-Rokkor that you recommended.  I think the GM1 is sweet with these lenses.

However it is quite a nice little bundle with the kit IS zoom and the Nocticron also with AF and IS will benefit with the useful AF features on the GM1.

I've got more than enough equipment now, and my beloved Leica R lens kit is happiness itself on the A7 body. As I use it more and more, it may well push out everything else ... I just love what those lenses do.

In FourThirds format, I looked at the GM1 but its too small for me to be comfortable using, I'm sticking with the E-M1 as it also works best with my FT SLR lenses.

I would have found something bigger but I have enough larger bodies and I try not to completely supersede anything that I will continue to like using and new acquisitions are more like plugging gaps in the armoury.

So many good cameras and lenses popped up in the past half year ... !

We are all kids in the lolly* shop (*candy, sweetie, depends on where you like).

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Tom Caldwell

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,671
Re: Are there any serious users of MF lenses on this forum?

Hinting, thanks for sharing I hope to be able to put some of my combinations with the GM1 on show as well.

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Tom Caldwell

mrc4nl Regular Member • Posts: 366
Re: i shoot mf lenses most of the time

Tom Caldwell wrote:

mrc4nl wrote:

I dare to say i have gathered quite amount of mf glass. 7 full frame and 4 c-mount.

How do you get on with vignetting? I have a few C-mount lenses but most of them either vignette on M4/3 of the aperture ring fouls the recessed portion of the adapter rendering it inoperable.

the full frame lenses give me quality, the c-mount lenses are just for fun/night shooting (6-12mm f1.4)
i shoot mf lenses a lot, more than my native (i own just 2)
my favourites are the minolta 50mm f2, tokina 28mm f2.8.
the minolta must be focused using magnified view since it has a narrow dof.
the tokina can be focused without magnification, although its not fail safe.
i tap the screen and i have full magnified view, half press the shutter button, and normal view pops up. simple and effective.

I dont mind a little vignetting,  yes the corners are completly black. just crop it.
my 6-12mm f1,4 is circulair (eg height of image circle is smaller than the m43 sensor)
here are some shots:

tamron 6-12mm f1.4 c-moun

same image but cropped.  its kinda soft, but i like it. The best thing is the shutter speed handheld. no stabilisation!

my canon 25mm f1.4 has a bigger image circle, but flares horribly.
this is uncropped

Canon cctv 25mm f1.4

OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 35,671
Re: i shoot mf lenses most of the time

I have a 10mm Zeiss Tevidon in C mount that vignettes but not badly. One way to get a 20mm lens in M4/3 as long as the crop size is small. Must give it a serious try.

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Tom Caldwell

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